Hiking San Miguel Island

©Tim Hauf, timhaufphotography.com

Tim Hauf, timhaufphotography.com

Several trails traverse San Miguel Island providing visitors with spectacular hiking opportunities. While many parts of the island are closed to protect wildlife, fragile plants, and geological features, several areas are open for you to explore.

San Miguel Island is owned by the US Navy and is open only when National Park Service personnel are on the island. A permit (including liability waiver) is required to visit the island. Visitors are required to stay on the designated island trail system. No off-trail hiking is permitted. The island was a former bombing range and there are possible unexploded ordnance. Visitors must be accompanied by a ranger beyond the ranger station. When not accompanied by a ranger, visitors may explore Cuyler Harbor beach, Nidever Canyon, the Cabrillo Monument, and the Lester Ranch site.

Visiting with Island Packers, Channel Islands Aviation, or Truth Aquatics:
A permit (including liability waiver) is required to visit the island. If you are traveling to San Miguel Island with Island Packers, Channel Islands Aviation, or Truth Aquatics, they will provide the forms to you upon your reservation. Visitors are required to stay on the designated island trail system. No off-trail hiking is permitted. The island was a former bombing range and there are possible unexploded ordnance. In addition, visitors must be accompanied by park staff beyond the ranger station. Park staff are usually available to offer guided hikes soon after arrival on the island. A variety of guided hikes are also offered when campers are on the island. However, there is no guarantee that hikes will be offered to all locations. Visitors must coordinate with island staff upon arrival. When not accompanied by a ranger, visitors may explore Cuyler Harbor beach, Nidever Canyon, the Cabrillo Monument, and the Lester Ranch site.

Private Boaters:
Overnight anchorages are restricted to Cuyler Harbor and Tyler Bight. Visitors may land only on the beach at Cuyler Harbor. San Miguel Island is owned by the U. S. Navy and open for landing only when National Park Service personnel are on the island. The island was a former bombing range and there are possible unexploded ordnance. It is the responsibility of private boaters to contact the park to ensure the island is open before coming ashore. A permit (including liability waiver) is required to visit the island. Private boaters can obtain these forms at a self-registration station at the Nidever Canyon trail head entry on San Miguel Island. Visitors are required to be escorted beyond the ranger station. Visitors may explore Cuyler Harbor beach, Nidever Canyon, the Cabrillo Monument, and the Lester Ranch site unescorted. No off-trail hiking is permitted. Private boaters are required to e-mail us prior to their mainland departure to arrange for an escorted hike by a ranger. Provide your name, phone number, vessel name, and dates of requested escorted hike. Park staff will then reply with available dates and instructions.

 

Maps and Guides for Download

These files require Adobe Reader.

  • San Miguel Island Hiking Map and Guide: Map not for navigation.
  • San Miguel Island Interpretive Trail Guide: Learn about the natural and cultural history on San Miguel Island.
  • The Official Channel Islands National Park Mobile App: Enrich your visit to Channel Islands National Park with the official, free app from the National Park Service. Digitally explore the park—by map or by topic of interest. Discover the natural and cultural stories in context with their locations. Find the information you need about visitor centers, events, services, and self-guided tours and trails throughout the park. All data must be downloaded before departing the mainland. There is no reliable cell service or wifi on the islands.
 
 
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    Last updated: June 8, 2021

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