55 Years +
Infant( Must Reserve)
Under 3 Years
Island Packers recommends Santa Cruz Island passengers 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 at App Store and on Google Play.
The channel crossing fora Prisoner’s Harbor day trip is approximately 1 .5 to 2 hours depending on vessel route and possible stops at Scorpion Anchorage.
Prisoners Harbor is located midway along the North shore of Santa Cruz Island. The harbor area is the border of the National Park and The Nature Conservancy Properties.
Reserve Your Seats
or View Availability
Prisoner’s Harbor offers hiking trail options from short, level-ground walks, to truly strenuous hikes. A guided trek by an Island Packer naturalist is offered on most day trips. These hikes often travel the scenic, 4-mile trail from Prisoner’s Harbor towards Pelican Bay. There is no charge for naturalist-led hikes:
Self Guided Trail Options
Eagle Canyon Picnic Area
Less than a half mile one way – Enjoy a brief walk up the Navy Road to a picnic area that has beautiful views of Prisoner’s Harbor.
Del Norte Trailhead
.3 miles one way – Take a longer walk to the campground trail head, where the picnic area faces Chinese Harbor and the mainland beyond.
South Side Overlook
2.5 miles one way – For the more adventurous, this uphill climb will leave you breathless with awe at the incredible panoramic view. On a clear day, you can see San Nicholas Island, Santa Barbara Island, and Santa Catalina Island out to the south.
Pelican Bay Trail Guided Hike
Prisoners Harbor day trip visitors can participate in a moderately strenuous hike along the Pelican Bay Trail with an Island Packer naturalist. This rocky trail travels along coast bluffs, through groves of pine and oak trees and through multiple deep canyons, offering scenic views and an occasional endemic island fox. Persons that participate in this guided hike must complete and sign a TNC Release form which Island Packers provides. You may also download the release form.
This hike is not a destination hike to Pelican Bay, but a guided hike through this pristine area along the Pelican Bay Trail. Hikers should not expect to reach Pelican Bay on this hike. Group size and hiker fitness will determine how far along the trail we can go before we must head back to meet the boat.
Visitors to Prisoner’s Harbor can join the guided hike, hike on their own, swim in the ocean, enjoy the pier, snorkel through shoreline kelp forests, or just relax on the cobblestone beach. Coastal kayaking is another popular exploration for kayaking enthusiasts. Fishing is allowed in this area with all required California Fish & Game licensing.
For the wildlife fan, the Prisoners Harbor day trip offers a good chance to see two animals found nowhere else in the world. Both the Island Fox and the Santa Cruz Island Jay make their homes at Prisoner’s Harbor.
Prisoner’s Harbor is the access point for the private TNC Property
Day Trip Preparation | What You Need to Know & Bring