Destinations and Distances
The park boat concessionaire, Island Packers, usually drops off and picks up kayakers and backpackers at the pier near the ranch area in Bechers Bay. Channel Islands Aviation drops hikers at the end of the airstrip near Water Canyon, approximately one mile from the pier and a 1/2 mile from the frontcountry campground in Water Canyon.
Hiking is along the beach, dirt roads, or unmaintained paths created by island animals. These roads and paths are rugged and mountainous with no signs. All distances that follow are approximate and measured from the pier, unless stated. Please refer to topographical maps for more accurate mileage and to help with the following descriptions. It is recommended that all backpackers purchase topographic maps (USGS 7.5 minute maps or the Trails Illustrated map of all the islands) and kayakers purchase nautical charts before departing on their journey.
Although the closest beach that is open to camping between August 15 and September 15 is just south of East Point (approximately seven hiking miles and eight kayaking miles from the pier). it is not recommended for camping. This beach is a small pocket beach and may be washed out at higher tides. In addition, pounding surf and strong winds constantly reshape this beach.
If hiking beyond East Point to Ford Point, it is recommended that you follow the ridge line or road until you reach the northeast ridge of San Augustine Canyon. Follow this ridge down to the mouth of the canyon. Hiking along the beach from East Point to Ford Point is impossible due to sections of vertical cliffs that drop directly into the ocean. However, kayakers can access beaches throughout this area. Once hikers reach Ford Point, they may follow the low terrace or higher ridge (both eventually run into a coastal road) down to the Johnsons Lee area. Refer to topographical maps for more details.
Direct access to beaches between Johnsons Lee and Ford Point (including La Jolla Vieja) is also possible via the Main/Soledad or South/Wreck roads. Both of these routes are long hikes (see mileage chart to the right) with a considerable amount of climbing and, once again, like all hiking or kayaking on the island, is recommended only for the experienced, well-conditioned traveler.
Beginning September 16, the closest beach camping is Lobo Canyon (approximately four hiking miles and six kayaking miles from the pier). However, this beach is not recommended for camping. The beach at Lobo Canyon is small and may be washed out at higher tides. In addition, pounding surf and strong winds constantly reshape this beach.
Hiking Distances (from pier unless noted; in miles)
Ford Point via South Road: 9 hiking
East Point: 7 hiking; 8 kayaking
East Point to Ford Point: 8 hiking; 5 kayaking
Ford Point to Johnsons Lee: 4 hiking; 3.5 kayaking
Johnsons Lee (via East Point): 18 hiking; 16 kayaking
Johnsons Lee via Main Road: 14 hiking
Johnsons Lee via South Road: 13.5 hiking
La Jolla Vieja via South Road: 11.2 hiking
Lobo Canyon: 4.5 hiking; 6 kayaking
Please see Hiking Santa Rosa Island for descriptions of other hikes on Santa Rosa Island.
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