Backcountry beach camping is available mid-August through December along Santa Rosa Island’s extensive, beautiful, and undeveloped 55-mile coastline. This coastline is reminiscent of California in days gone by. The rocky coast and sandy beaches are much the same as the ones the Chumash Indians, Spanish explorers, and early ranchers may have known. This remote, fragile environment is critical for sea and shorebirds, marine mammals, and plant communities. In 1992, the National Park Service opened the island to backcountry beach camping in recognition of its rare wilderness values. As you explore these wild areas by kayak or on foot, please take responsibility to help us protect and preserve these delicate natural resources for future generations.
The following information will help you enjoy your visit while leaving the smallest impact on the island. WARNING: While backcountry camping is an incredible experience, it is not for the inexperienced backpacker or kayaker. Due to difficult weather, rugged terrain, and off-trail hiking, backcountry camping is an arduous endeavor and should be undertaken only by experienced, well-conditioned backpackers and kayakers. Less experienced visitors to the island should consider frontcountry camping at Santa Rosa Island Campground in Water Canyon, which also offers advance reservations with some amenities (e.g., pit toilet, picnic table, water). Backcountry Beach Camping Dates January 1 – August 14 Backcountry beach camping is closed to protect pupping seals/sea lions and nesting seabirds. August 15 – September 15 Only East Point to South Point Beaches (Southeast Quadrant) are open to backcountry camping for boaters, kayakers, and backpackers. September 16 – December 31 Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest Quadrant beaches are open to backcountry camping. Beaches around Sandy Point, at Lobo Canyon, and Northeast Quadrant beaches (between Carrington Point and East Point) remain closed to camping. Reservations Required. Advance reservations are mandatory. There are no walk-ups. Camping Maximum. Ten groups per night, per quadrant. Max 4 campers per group. Transportation to the Island. You must arrange transportation to Santa Rosa Island before making a campsite reservation. Please read “Getting There.” Bring Extra Supplies. Bring supplies and food for an extra day in case the boats or planes are unable to pick up campers due to weather conditions. Backpack to Beach Camping Areas. Visitors must backpack to their dispersed campsite and must carry their own gear, food and water. Check-in. Check-in with a ranger on arrival for an on-site orientation. Bring your confirmation email with you. Water & Water Treatment. The park recommends carrying one gallon of water per person per day. Potable water is available in the Water Canyon (frontcountry) campground. Outside the Water Canyon campground, water sources may be unreliable or contaminated. Please read the water and water treatment information under “Facilities.” Camp Only on Beaches. Camping is prohibited in any other areas, including coastal bluffs. Please read the additional details under “Facilities,” above. Proper food and trash storage is required. Recommend hard-sided container (i.e., bear canister) to further protect food/garbage from animals. Pack In, Pack Out. Visitors are required to pack out what they pack in, including garbage and human waste in the backcountry.”Waste bags” are available from outdoor suppliers. Strain or separate food particles from cooking water and pack them out. Scatter the gray water 200 ft. from water sources and camps. No Campfires. No campfires or charcoal fires. Only enclosed gas camp stoves. Smoking. Smoking is only allowed on beach area at Bechers Bay. Hantavirus. Avoid contact with deer mice. Hantavirius has been found in island deer mice. Prohibited Items . Do not bring 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, or single-use plastic grocery bags. Fishing . No fishing in marine reserves. California fishing license and ocean enhancement sticker required to fish outside marine reserves. Watersports . Due to the strong, persistent wind, swimming, snorkeling, diving, and kayaking are limited and recommended for the experienced visitor only. 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. Important Closures . Visitors are required to be aware of island closures. Please read “Island Closures” Additional Information . Please visit Backcountry Beach Camping: Santa Rosa Island on the Channel Islands National Park website for more information.
- Boat Launch
- Fish Cleaning Station
- Pet Friendly