CAMPING IN THE CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK - SCORPION CANYON (SCI)
To camp at the Scorpion Canyon Campground you must have both a boat reservation and a campground reservation. By clicking the two buttons to the right, you will be able to view both the reservation system for the boat and for the campground in two separate windows. You can use these programs to check availability.
Please review both links below to help in the ease & speed of the loading of all camping gear:
Santa Cruz Island Camper Transport Fares
55 Years +
Infant (Must Reserve)
Under 3 Years
About the Campground
Santa Cruz Island is the largest Island in the Park and in the Channel Islands chain. It offers the largest campgrounds at Scorpion Anchorage.
There are a total of 31 sites. 25 Sites (1-25) are family sites for up to six people and six sites (A-F) are group sites holding up to 15 people maximum in each site.
Group sites may be reserved up to 6 months in advance and you may have up four sites (60 people) before you will need to contact the National Park for a Special Use Permit. Family sites can be reserved up to six months in advance.
Camp sites 1-22 are in the lower loop and are all family sites. The upper loop contains the six group sites and the last three family sites 23-25 are located above the group sites. Campsite begin about a half mile from the pier and continue on for about a half mile.
All sites are site specific so when you reserve your site you will be assigned a site number/letter. Campsite 1 is closest to the pier where you disembark the boat.
- Family Sites are $15.00 per night
- Group Sites are $40.00 per night.
- You may reserve up to 7 consecutive nights.
Scorpion Campground has potable water. Family sites have a picnic table and a large food storage box. Group sites have multiple tables and storage boxes. You may not clean dishes at the water spigots, so you will need a container to get water back to your campsite.
The campground area has shade in most sites provided by old growth (non-endemic) eucalyptus trees. The placement of the campground in Scorpion Canyon provides shelter from the prevailing NW winds. There are no trash cans for the public on the island, so you must pack out all trash when you leave.
Campers have the opportunity to do some of the longer hikes on Santa Cruz that time restraints prevent day visitors from enjoying. Hiking to the southern environment of Smugglers Cove can be a fun all day adventure with a picnic lunch and a swim (spring and early fall).
You can enjoy great views of the south shore of Santa Cruz Island, west end of Anacapa Island and evidence of the past ranching era of Santa Cruz. A vault style restroom and picnic tables are provided but no potable water is available at the restroom.
Accessing the Ocean
Santa Cruz Island at Scorpion Cove has a sand and rocky beach. Visitors who want to access the ocean for swimming, snorkeling or kayaking are advised to bring a pair of water shoes. The addition of water shoes will make your ocean experience much more enjoyable.
Shuttles to Prisoners Harbor
Multiple night campers can arrange in advance to shuttle up to Prisoners Harbor and back for the day or get dropped off at Prisoners Harbor for a shorter access to an overnight stay at Del Norte Campground. (Three and a half miles one way and no potable water is available at this campground.)
CAMPING PREPARATION | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW & BRING
- Please arrive at your harbor of departure a full hour before your departure time. Late arriving gear may not be loaded onto the boat.
- An Island Packers reservation.
- A campsite reservation.
- Food for your time on the island.
- There is potable water available at several spigots in the campground. You will need a container to get it to your campsite. You may not wash dishes at the spigot.
- Kitchen utensils and camp stove (No campfires are permitted)
- A tent and sleeping bag(s)
- Flashlight or lantern
- Sturdy shoes and warm clothes for the cool evenings that can occur year-round.
- Gear that meets the Island Packers Restrictions/Guidelines
- Hat, Sunscreen and long-sleeved shirt for UV protection. UV is present even on overcast days.
- NO Single Item weighing more than 45 LBS (required)
During the rough weather months, November through May, you will need to make sure Island Packers’ schedule has not been changed due to ocean and/or weather conditions before you leave the camping area for the day.
Schedule changes are relayed to the park in the morning and the bulletin board or the ranger will have schedule change information. Campers during these month should come prepared with extra food in case weather prevents us from our planned pick up.
Get the National Park Service App!
Island Packers recommends visitors utilize the National Park Service App for a more complete island experience. 420 + Parks all in one App. Find interactive maps, tours of park places, on-the-ground accessibility information, and more. Download before you go so you can use it offline at the islands! The app is free and available online.