Once visitors have scaled the rugged cliffs using the stairwell from the Landing Cove, they will be rewarded with a campground perched on the bluffs with magnificent coastal views. Anacapa Island, the closest Channel Island to the mainland of California, is comprised of three islets (appropriately named East, Middle, and West Anacapa Islands). Waves have eroded the volcanic island, creating towering sea cliffs, sea caves, and natural bridges, such as forty-foot-high Arch Rock — a symbol of Anacapa and Channel Islands National Park. Exploring East Anacapa’s two-mile trail system allows visitors to experience the island’s native vegetation, wildlife, and cultural history. The islands’ native vegetation is recovering slowly with the help of the National Park Service’s restoration efforts. This recovery, along with the removal of nonnative predators, has aided in the reestablishment of nesting land birds and seabirds. The island is one of the most important seabird nesting sites within the Channel Islands. While the steep cliffs of West Anacapa are home to the largest breeding colony of endangered California brown pelicans, all the islets of Anacapa host the largest breeding colony of western gulls in the world. The rocky shores of Anacapa are perfect resting and breeding areas for California sea lions and harbor seals. Anacapa’s rich kelp forests (ideal for kayaking, snorkeling, and diving) and tidepool areas provide visitors with the opportunity to meet some of the resident ocean animals up close. Anacapa Island has a rich human history as well. Shell midden sites indicate where Chumash people camped on the islands thousands of years ago. In addition, visitors can view the 1932 light station. The original lead-crystal Fresnel lens, which served as a beacon to ships until an automated light replaced it in 1990, is on exhibit in the East Anacapa Visitor Center. Anacapa Island may only be reached by boat. Visitors are required 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.
Camping reservations are required prior to arriving on the island. There are NO walk-ups at this facility. There are 7 individual campsites. Max 4-6 people per site. Upon arrival, meet ranger at beach, landing dock or campground. However, park staff is not always available on the island. Please have confirmation letter, receipt, or campsite number with you. Hike-in Distance to Site: 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile. Visitors must carry all their own gear. Primitive camping. Tent camping only, no electricity/water/sewer site hook-ups at this campground. Bring low profile tents and extra food for weather delays. No shelter or shade. Picnic table, food storage box, vault toilet provided. Must bring your own water. No stores or services. Quiet time is enforced at 10:00 p.m. Proper food and trash storage is required. Food/Trash storage lockers are provided at each site. Recommend hard-sided container (i.e., action packer) to further protect food/garbage from animals. Visitors are required to pack out what they pack in, including garbage. No campfires or charcoal fires. Only enclosed gas camp stoves are allowed. Smoking is only allowed on the concrete area by the crane at the top of the stairs. Avoid contact with deer mice. Hantavirus has been found in island deer mice. For more information visit: https://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/hantavirus.htm . To help prevent the introduction of nonnative species the following items may not be brought to the park: pets; live or potted plants; soil; cut flowers; firewood or any untreated, unfinished wood (including hiking sticks); corrugated boxes; tools or equipment with attached soil; motorized vehicles; bicycles; and single-use plastic grocery bags. No fishing in marine reserves. California fishing license and ocean enhancement sticker required to fish outside marine reserves. Kayakers: ocean conditions can rapidly change, requiring expert abilities. Ocean kayaking is an inherently dangerous activity. Always check weather and do not kayak beyond your experience level. Since Anacapa Island is a cliff island, access to the water is only at the Landing Cove via a dock. There are no other accessible beaches unless you have a watercraft. No off- trail hiking is allowed. Portions of trails are subject to closure when Western gulls are nesting from April through August.
- Fire Pit
- Food Locker
- Picnic Table