Island Packers recommends Santa Rosa Island passengers utilize the Channel Islands National Park App
for a more complete island experience.
Download before you go so you can use it offline at the islands! The app is free and available on the App Store and on Google Play.

Ticket Type


Round Trip
Day Trip Fare

Round Trip
Camper Transport


13-54 Years

$85 .00

$ 120.00


55 Years+

$ 77.00

$ 110.00


3-12 Years

$ 67.00

$ 95.00

Infant (Must Reserve)

Under3 Years

$ 00.00

$ 00.00

At 84 square miles, Santa Rosa Island is the second largest of the eight Channel Islands.  There are two relatively high mountains on the island; Black Mountain, 1298 ft (396 m); and Soledad Peak 1574 ft (480 m).
Most of the island is covered by rolling hills. Steep and dramatic canyons, such as Lobo and Water Canyon, cut through the hills and open up to beautiful white sand beaches. Many miles of trails and roads are available for hiking exploration.

The Crossing

A trip to Santa Rosa from the Ventura Harbor takes approximately two hours if the boat takes the northerly route, two hours and 15 minutes via the smoother and preferred southern route.  If the boat is stopping at Scorpion Anchorage, or Prisoners Harbor, Santa Cruz Island, you can add an additional 30 minutes to the crossing.

Unloading at the Santa Rosa Pier
Photo by Doug Mangum

When sea conditions allow, passengers returning from Santa Rosa are treated to the memorable experience of a brief stop and tour of Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island. Save some film!

Our preferred route takes a track along the south side on Santa Cruz Island because waters are usually much calmer there, however, the channel between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa can be rough.

The longer ocean crossing provides an greater opportunity to view dolphins and in the summer months Blue & Humpback whales.

Landing at Santa Rosa is via a pier at Bechers Bay.  Passengers will step from the boat to a landing and then climb a short flight of stairs to the top of the pier.


Cal State University Channel Island Research Station
Formerly the Vail & Vickers Ranch Facilities
Photo by Michele Wassell


Santa Rosa Island has potable water for day visitors and campers. Water along with picnic tables and flushing toilets are located on the Coastal Road at the electrical buildings and in the campground area. Picnic tables are also located in the ranch area on the lawn. The buildings in the ranch area are closed to the public as they are research facilities for Cal State Channel Island.

Water Canyon Campground has 15 five person sites with wind barriers.

Water Canyon flows year round
Photo by Doug Mangum

Archaeological discoveries include the remains of an ancient species of pygmy mammoth. Discovered in 1994, the fossil skeleton comprises the most complete specimen ever found.
Over 13,000 years of human habitation has also left its mark on the island. Until approximately 1820, a large population of Chumash people called Wima (Chumash name for Santa Rosa) home. In subsequent eras, European explorers, Aleut sea otter hunters, Chinese abalone fishermen, Spanish missionaries, Mexican and American ranchers and the US military have all left their mark on Wima. Remnants of these island inhabitants are still being found.

Torry Pines Upper Trail View
Photo by Doug Mangum

Santa Rosa lies just beyond Point Conception, so the weather is more like the Big Sur Coast than that of Southern California.  Visitors should be prepared for cool and foggy days even in the summer. Strong winds are common year-round.
About 500 plant species have been identified on Santa Rosa, including six endemic species found nowhere else in the world, including a subspecies of Torrey Pine. Santa Rosa also hosts over 100 bird species, three mammal species (the largest being the endemic island fox), two amphibians and three reptile species.

Seasonal Highlights

Important Links to Additional Information