If you’re a hiker visiting Santa Cruz Island, this hike to Smuggler’s Cove has to be on your itinerary. This 8.2 mile hike gains a modest 1500ft of elevation gain, but provides some incredible ocean views in the process. Most hikers reach Smuggler’s Cove via an out-and-back route on Smuggler’s Rd, but in this guide I’ll provide directions for a more scenic loop route through Scorpion Canyon.
This loop hike from Scorpion Bay to Cavern Point takes place on Santa Cruz Island, the largest of eight islands making up Channel Islands National Park. Santa Cruz is also the largest island in California at 96.5 square miles. Starting at the Scorpion Anchorage Visitor Center, hikers will scale an ocean bluff with majestic views of the California mainland. From there, the trail follows the coastline before returning to Scorpion Anchorage via the Scorpion Ranch Campground.