ABOUT SAN MIGUEL ISLAND
San Miguel Island Closure
NPS Alert: All trails and facilities on San Miguel Island, except the sandy beaches of Cuyler Harbor, are closed to the public until emergency repairs can be made to Nidever Canyon Trail. Island Packers Message: Estimates are for this closure are now to last through August. However, this closure could exceed the estimate. We will update this message as more information becomes available.
Visitors to San Miguel Island must complete an Acknowledgement of Danger: Release and Hold Harmless Agreement for San Miguel Island (SMI), Channel Islands National Park.
While Island Packers has these forms at our office, please complete the form prior to your arrival to speed up the check-in process. Guests will be asked to step out of line to complete the form prior to receiving boarding passes.
This Release and Hold Harmless form must be completed before you may receive your boarding passes. This is a requirement of the Channel Islands National Park. You only need to print and complete page two. Page one is an explanation of the reason for this form and you should read this page thoroughly so that you have a complete understanding of what you are signing. If you are not able to print this form before you arrive at our office, Island Packers will provide the form for you at our check-in counter. You will be asked to step out of line to complete the form and then return to the line at the counter for check-in.
San Miguel lies approximately 70 miles from Ventura and 26 miles from the closest mainland (Point Conception,) and 3 miles west of Santa Rosa Island.
The boat ride to San Miguel can take 3 – 3.5 hours and often encounters rough sea conditions along with spectacular wildlife sightings.
When We Go to San Miguel
Island Packers Travels to San Miguel from July to October. Landing at Cuylers Harbor is via shore boat through the surf onto a sandy beach.
Most trips to San Miguel are for camper transportation only. Day trips to occur once or twice a year in October.
San Miguel day visitors and campers are not guaranteed specific hikes. Park staff are usually available to offer guided hikes soon after arrival on the island. A variety of guided hikes are also offered when campers are on the island.
However, there is no guarantee that hikes will be offered to all locations. Visitors must coordinate with island staff upon arrival. When not accompanied by a ranger, visitors may explore Cuyler Harbor beach, Nidever Canyon, the Cabrillo Monument, and the Lester Ranch site.
Flora & Fauna
Only three land mammal species call this island home. The Island Fox and San Miguel Deer Mouse are considered endemic to the island. The black rat, introduced by shipwrecks, is the only other land mammal found here. However, the abundance of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) hauled out on the beaches, and swimming in the surrounding waters, are a different story.
Six pinniped species can be seen annually in the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel and on the shores of the islands. Some of the most populated concentrations of pinnipeds can be found on the beaches of this island. In addition, one-third of the birds who breed on the Channel Islands do so at this remote island.
Throughout the spring and summer, different age groups of elephant seals will haul out to molt on the sandy beaches, sometimes right inside Cuyler Harbor.
This island is truly a special place. During the entire season that Island Packers travels to this island you have a chance to view marine mammals, including the possibility of Humpback and Blue Whales.