Santa Barbara Island, Channel Islands National Park

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Near Landing Cove, Sea Lions resting on the rocky shoreline

Santa Barbara Island is one of five Islands that make up Channel Islands National Park.  Although Channel Islands consists of eight islands only five of them are a National Park.  Santa Barbara Island is the smallest island, only about 639 acres or one square mile.  

However the island still has 5 to 6 miles of scenic trails.  Seals, sea lions and elephant seals rest here and you will be likely to have an up close view near the boat landing.  Many sea birds can also be viewed here including the rare Xantus's murlet.

Activities on Santa Barbara Island include hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and camping.  Free guided/interpretive hiking tours by the National Parks are always available. See the official Channel Islands National Park website for visiting information:  http://www.nps.gov/chis/index.htm

Crossing the channel to the island you are likely to see a variety of sea life and birds.  On our trip we saw blue sharks and dolphins.  At times whales are sighted on the way to various islands. 

Santa Barbara is a volcanic island with no beach access except at the boat landing.  The rest of the island is cliffs, with beautiful views. 

Santa Barbara has fewer native plant species than other Channel Islands due to past ranching and over-grazing but currently a native plant restoration is in progress.  The island has 14 native plant species and subspecies that are only found in the Channel Islands, no where else in the world, and a few of which are only found on Santa Barbara Island.
 

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Below a few more pictures showing the area on the trails around Arch Point, Shag Rock, North Peak and I believe Elephant Seal Cove.  The red mat flowers are not native to the islands, they are an invasive ice plant from Africa, otherwise plants shown are native to the island.  The pictures on this page are all dated 7/24/10, click on any picture to enlarge. 

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Sea Lions in a territorial dispute on the boat landing.

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Appears to be a Santa Barbara Island Buckwheat, a rare subspecies that only occurs on this island.

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Links (to other websites, not maintained by caopenspace):

Island Hiking Safety from National Park Service:
http://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

Santa Barbara Island printable map from the National Park Service:
http://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/upload/sbihiking2008website.pdf

Island Packers, authorized concessionaire to the Channel Islands National Park:  http://www.islandpackers.com/isltrips.html

Another website giving some interesting facts about Santa Barbara Island (including great white shark sightings):
http://www.discover-santa-barbara.com/santa-barbara-island.html

Santa Barbara Island Buckwheat plant info:
http://www.enotes.com/topic/Eriogonum_giganteum

Fun facts, other islands also on this page, nice comparison:
http://www.channel.islands.national-park.com/info.htm#barb
Places Nearby (other pages on caopenspace)
   Other Channel Islands: 
  
Anacapa Island
   Santa Cruz Island
  On the mainland, not far from either Ventura or Oxnard Harbors: