august, 2017

26augallday27alldaySanta Cruz Island Prisoners Harbor Backpacking AdventureActivity:BackpackingLevel:ModerateDays:2Capacity:6-8

Event Photos


august 26 (Saturday) - 27 (Sunday)


Santa Cruz, Channel Islands National Park

Event Details

Join us for an overnight backpacking adventure on Santa Cruz Island, the largest of five islands in Channel Island National Park.

Santa Cruz Island offers 77-miles of rugged ocean cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, giant sea caves and colorful tidepools. The island is home to many distinctive plant and animal species that have adapted to the unique environment, including the Santa Cruz Island Fox, a local you will likely meet during your visit.

From Ventura Harbor, a ferry will bring us to Prisoners Harbor. After 3.5-miles, we will arrive at our backcountry campsite and drop our packs for an 8-mile round trip day hike to the secluded cobblestone beach at Chinese Harbor. Learn from our experienced guides how to pack your bag, cook in the backcountry and Leave No Trace.


  • Enjoy a 1.5-hour ferry ride to the island. Keep you eyes peeled for dolphins and pelicans!
  • Explore the island on foot, including secluded beaches, panoramic ocean views and wildflower-filled meadows
  • Access the backcountry with just a short hike from the ferry to the campground
  • Observe the Santa Cruz Island Fox and other wildlife in their natural habitat


  • Experienced Wilderness First Responder/CPR Certified trip leaders
  • A supportive community of Shoestring Warriors
  • Gourmet backcountry meals
  • Group photographer to document the trip, so you can stay in the moment
  • Edited photos 3 weeks after your trip ends
  • Shoestring Warrior Adventure Kit with curated souvenirs
  • Permits and reservations

Shoestring Adventures operates with special use permits. A portion of your ticket goes toward protecting and preserving this park for future generations.


  • Day 1: Meet at Ventura Harbor for a 1.5-hour ferry ride to Prisoners Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. Hike 3.5-miles to our campground and drop our packs for an 8-mile round trip hike to the secluded cobblestone beach at Chinese Harbor.
  • Day 2: Pack up camp and hike 4.25-miles back to Prisoners Harbor, the same route as Day 1 with a slight detour to catch some more views. Enjoy a picnic lunch in Prisoners Harbor before catching our ferry back to Ventura Harbor.

Total: Approx. 15.75 miles

Schedule subject to change due to weather, camper ability/injury, natural events or park restrictions. Shoestring Warriors should be in good physical shape, but we will hike at an easy pace and take breaks as needed.


Typical summer climate on Santa Cruz Island is moderate with an average temperature in July that ranges from 62-70 degrees F with frequent fog.


  • Transportation to Ventura Harbor is not included. We will help facilitate carpools for the group after you register. Ferry tickets ARE included.
  • Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and personal items. Click here for convenient rentals. Our partner Adventure 16 also offers affordable gear rentals.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips for trip leader and photographer


After registration, you will receive a Welcome Kit with a customized package list, introductions to your fellow campers, weather forecast and everything else you need to know to prepare for our trip. In the meantime, get started with our Backpacking Gear Checklist.


We take extra measures to ensure your safety and maximum level of fun. All Shoestring Adventures trip leaders hold Wilderness First Responder/CPR, Leave No Trace and Food Handling certifications. In remote destinations, we carry a DeLorme inReach Explorer Satellite Messenger to contact authorities in case of emergency.

On the trail, we encourage campers to stay together, wear sun protection and stay hydrated. We minimize risk by keeping groups together while hiking, encouraging everyone to drink water and apply sunscreen, and making sure we’re prepared with gear appropriate to weather and our activities.


Every camper must sign a Liability Waiver & Media Release. Please read our FAQ for more information and our cancellation policy.


For questions or custom payment plans, please email

  • Member: $380
  • Early Bird: $420 (Begins June 9)
  • Regular: $460 (Begins July 28)


Send this to a friend