Day trips begin with an island orientation from a Naturalist volunteer when you get off the boat.
Water Canyon creek flows year round and a hike up the creek bed and along animal trails is a good day hike for experienced hikers.
A guided hike is usually offered on the Cherry Canyon trail, which is considered a moderate trail.
The walk to the base of the Torrey Pines is a mostly flat walking trail along the Coastal Road which is five miles round trip.
The longer loop trail (7.5 mi) ascending to the top of the grove offers spectacular views and is considered a moderate to strenuous trail.
The eroded and wind swept bluffs and beautiful white sand beaches are reachable from a ladder near the pier as well as at Water Canyon.
Day visitors need to be back at the pier for pick up 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
What to bring for the best island experience.
- Pack food and water for your time on the island. A small cooler with a single handle or a backpack will help to protect your food from the small animals and birds that populate the island year round. There are no shops or restaurants on the island.
- Come prepared to hike out all your trash.
- Santa Rosa Island has little shade, so sunscreen and a hat will help to protect you from UV that is present even on overcast days.
- Weather conditions can change rapidly in the Santa Barbara Channel and Santa Rosa has windy days year-round. It is always best to dress in layers and bring a jacket along (even in the summer months).
- Flat shoes with rubber soled are best for both the boat and the island. We recommend hiking shoes. We suggest that you do not wear loose or leather soles sandals or flip flops on your island adventure.
- Camera and binoculars will add to your trip and this island offers some spectacular photo opportunities.
- Please arrive at your harbor of departure 45 minutes before your scheduled mainland departure.