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Santa Cruz Del Norte Backcountry Campground Channel Islands National Park California

Santa Cruz Del Norte Backcountry Overview

Del Norte Backcountry Santa Cruz Island View

Del Norte Backcountry Campground on Santa Cruz Island and has 4 tent-only / primitive campsites offers breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding area. Channel Islands National Park opened this area in recognition of its rare wilderness values.

A vault (pit) toilet is available but campers must bring their own toilet paper. Drinking water is not available. Campers will need to carry all of their gear, food and water to the campsite. Each site also has a table and food storage locker. Camp fires are not permitted.

To reach this backcountry site, visitors will backpack along a historic ranch road/trail through a series of canyons and ridges, to a vista about 700 feet above sea level. This moderate to strenuous 3.5-mile hike (via the Del Norte Trail) from Prisoners Harbor travels through island oak woodlands and coastal sage scrub plant communities. The longer route (5 miles) provides views of the south side of the island. It follows the Navy Road as it climbs 1,200 feet over 4 miles.  It eventually reaches the junction with the Del Norte Road. At the signed junction, turn north (left) and descend 1 mile to the campground.

Getting to the Island / Campground

Visitors need to arrange boat transportation to the island before reserving a campsite. Contact the park’s authorized concessioner Island Packers or use your own private boat to Prisoners Harbor.  Also have your confirmation letter, receipt, or campsite number with you.

The only other camping option on Santa Cruz Island is the Scorpion (Canyon) campground (about 12 miles from Scorpion Anchorage).

Santa Cruz Island Recreation & Information

Outdoor recreation on the island includes boating, kayaking (bring your own – check with Island Packers), fishing, swimming, snorkeling, beachcombing and wildlife viewing. Hiking options are also unlimited and offer spectacular coastal views. You can also arrange for guided kayak trips and kayak rentals before arriving on the island.

Santa Cruz Island is one of the five islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park. The island is rich in cultural history, magnificent landscapes, and unique flora and fauna. Native American Indians inhabited the island for over 10,000 years and Europeans explored and ranched on the island for over 150 years. Over 600 plant species, 140 land birds, 11 land mammals and a handful of amphibians and reptiles call the island their home.

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  • Campsite Tables
  • Cell Service Poor
  • Golden Age & Access Passports accepted
  • Picnic Tables
  • Backpacking
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
  • Diving
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historic Sites
  • Kayaking
  • Nature Trails
  • Ocean
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Skin Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Stargazing
  • Swimming
  • Visitor Center
  • Walking Trails
  • Water Sports
  • Wildlife Viewing
1901 Spinnaker Drive
Ventura, California 93001

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Campsite Types
  • Primitive
  • Tent
  • Walk-To
# of Campsites:



Year Round



Santa Cruz Del Norte Backcountry Photos

Del Norte Backcountry Dolphins
Del Norte Backcountry Dolphins Swimming
Del Norte Backcountry Santa Cruz Island View
Del Norte Backcountry Scorpion Canyon Harbor View
Del Norte Backcountry Scorpion Canyon Santa Cruz Island Water View
Del Norte Backcountry Scorpion Ranch From Water
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