San Miguel Island Camping


To camp in the Channel Islands National Park 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.

National Park Service  Policy

Visitors to San Miguel Island must complete an: Acknowledgement of Danger: Release and Hold Harmless Agreement - San Miguel Island (SMI)  Channel Islands National Park.

While Island Packers does have these forms at our office, completing the form prior to your arrival at out office will speed up your check in procedure.  Guest will be asked to step out of line to complete the form prior to receiving your boarding pass.  Island Packers would greatly appreciate your completing this form prior to your arrival if possible.

The campground has nine sites with each site holding up to a maximum of four people. There is no drinking water so you must bring your own to last the duration of our visit. Distance to the campground is approximately one mile and includes a steep trail.  Sites are not specific when reserving.

Photo by Doug Mangum

The landing at San Miguel is at Cuyler Harbor via a shore boat or skiff. The skiff will take you ashore through the surf to one of the most beautiful beaches in California.

Because of the beach landing, it is recommended that all non-waterproof gear be placed in plastic bags or dry bags before being packed in backpack.  Do not pack all your gear (backpack) with a garbage bag on the outside as they tear easily and are difficult to handle.

To reach the campgrounds you must climb a steep half mile trail that winds up Nidever Canyon marked by a monument placed for Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo on the hill above the harbor.

Photo by Doug Mangum

Attention Campers: San Miguel is exposed to rapid weather change resulting in large swells and strong winds.  These weather conditions may prevent  Island Packers from their scheduled pick up.  Campers should be  prepared for for the possibility of  early  pick up or additional night(s) on the island by bringing extra food and water.  Island Packers schedule changes are communicated with the National Park in the morning and this information should be available on the bulletin board of from the ranger. Please check for schedule changes  before you depart the campground area on the day of your scheduled pick up.

Photo by Doug Mangum

Another half mile from the monument is the campground. Sites are equipped with picnic tables, small food storage box, and wind breaks. The campground has a vault toilet. There is no water available.

Due to the variable weather and potentially high winds, it is recommended that campers use a four season tent and bring extra guy lines as well as stakes.

Campers will be offered various guided hikes which may include Lester Point, Caliche Forest, Harris Point and Point Bennett.

Photo by Doug Mangum
Photo by Doug Mangum

Point Bennett is a 16-mile round trip hike to one of the largest pinniped rookeries in the world which can be covered with over ten thousand seals and sea lions.

Caliche Forest

This hike goes past an interesting geologic formation called the Caliche Forest. Caliche is a calcium carbonate cast of ancient roots and other vegetable matter that decomposed long ago.

The Caliche Forest hike may be offered separately from the Point Bennett hike.

Year round at San Miguel Island weather/ocean conditions  may prevent Island Packers from picking you up on your scheduled day of departure.  You will need to make sure Island Packers schedule has not been changed due to ocean/weather conditions before you leave the camping area for the day.  Schedule changes are relayed to the park in the morning and the ranger will have schedule change information.  Campers  should come prepared with extra food/water in case weather or beach landing conditions prevents us from our planned pick up.

What you will need for a great trip:

  • An Island Packers reservation.
  • A campsite reservation.
  • Food for your time on the island. (No stores or restaurants).
  • Fresh /Drinking Water (suggested 1 gallon per day per person).
  • Kitchen utensils and camp stove (No campfires are permitted).
  • Flashlight or lantern.A  sturdy tent with stakes and guy lines and sleeping bag(s).
  • Gear packed so it that meets the Island Packers Restrictions/Guidelines
  • Gear packed to prevent ocean water intrusion when landing on the beach.
  • Sturdy shoes and warm clothing for the cool and windy evenings that can occur year-round.
  • A second pair of shoes as beach landing can be wet. Campers must exit the skiff wearing shoes.
  • Hat w/ lanyard, sunscreen and long sleeved shirt.


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