Channel Islands Aviation was founded on the need for charter flights to the Channel Islands. Our first flight took place on January 1, 1975 before the opening of and our move to the Camarillo Airport in 1976. In the early years our island charter business catered to Delco Electronics Sonar Research Facility on Santa Cruz, Dr. Carey Stanton and the Gherini Family, former owners of Santa Cruz Island as well as the Vail & Vickers Company, former owners of Santa Rosa Island. Channel Islands Aviation started daytrips for the public to Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Island in 1986 and became the official airplane concessionaire for the Channel Islands National Park in the mid-1990s. Till this day we fly the National Park, The Nature Conservancy and NOAA as well as the public to the Channel Islands National Park aboard our Britten-Norman Islander. More recently, in May 2016, San Miguel Island reopened to the public.
This island is a scenic twenty-five minute flight from Camarillo that takes you over Ventura, the Pacific Ocean and north of neighboring islands, Anacapa and Santa Cruz before landing at Becher’s Bay. The island runway is dirt so your adventure begins the moment you disembark from the airplane! Popular island attractions include beautiful white sandy beaches, the Torrey Pine Forest, Lobo Canyon, Cherry Canyon and the historic Vail Ranch.
Please note that all of our activities on the island include a lot of walking and in some cases, light hiking. Moderate physical activities are required and as there is no pavement, please wear comfortable shoes for walking in dirt. Additionally, the weather on the island is a bit unpredictable so we recommend you wear layered clothing and most important of all, don’t forget your camera!
The campground on Santa Rosa Island is conveniently located five minutes by foot from the airstrip at Water Canyon off Becher’s Bay on the northeast side of the island. Picnic tables, flushing toilets, public potable water and hot showers are available on site. Camping permits are required and may be obtained by at www.recreation.gov. For cooking, we recommend campers bring Coleman style camp stoves and Channel Islands Aviation provides propane available on the island. The convenient location of the campsite provides numerous hiking opportunities and beach fishing for campers with a California fishing license.
The most popular way to visit the Channel Islands National Park is by our Deluxe or Half Day Trip to Santa Rosa Island. Pack yourself a small picnic lunch to enjoy on the secluded beach or on one of the cliffs that overlooks the water. Your pilot will be your guide and will take you on a hike or driving tour of the island, when the vehicle is available. If you’d prefer to hike on your own we will provide you with a map so you can have your own adventure! Our Deluxe Day Trip includes four and a half hours on the island where our Half Day Trip is three hours. Trips are sold on an exclusive charter basis meaning you will have the entire airplane to yourself! Our airplane seats up to eight passengers so you’re encouraged to bring family and friends.
For more information on Santa Rosa Island you can visit: https://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/santa-rosa-island.htm
After 40-minutes of flightseeing including Anacapa, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands, land on San Miguel. The island runway is dirt so your adventure begins the moment you disembark from the airplane! Popular island attractions include the caliche forest (sand-castings of ancient vegetation), fossil bones of the Pleistocene pygmy mammoths that stood four to six feet at the shoulders, 150 years of ranching history, and numerous shipwrecks. Whether you are interested in life of the past or life of the present, San Miguel Island has it in abundance.
Plan on moderate to strenuous hiking only, no vehicles available on San Miguel. Hikes will be guided by a National Park Ranger or experienced National Park Volunteer. Strong winds are possible. This island is more challenging to get to and the weather can be windy at any time of year-30 knots of wind is not uncommon. Therefore, visitors must be prepared for adverse weather. As with all the Channel Islands, visiting San Miguel Island is an exercise in preparation and self-reliance.
Primitive camping is only available at the established campground near the historic Lester ranch site. Picnic table, food storage box, windbreak, and pit toilet are provided. Water is not available and there is no shade. Distance from the airstrip to the campground is a short 3 minute walk. Campers should be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Thirty-knot winds are not uncommon. Sturdy, low-profile tents, stakes, and line for securing tents to ground, table, or wind shelters are recommended. Fog can occur during any season producing cool, damp conditions. You will need to obtain a camping permit by visiting www.recreation.gov. Camp site is $15.00 per night.
Several trails traverse San Miguel Island providing visitors with spectacular hiking opportunities. While many parts of the island are closed to protect wildlife, fragile plants, and geological features, several areas are open for you to explore.
San Miguel Island is open only when National Park Service personnel are on the island. A permit (including liability waiver) is required to visit the island. Visitors are required to stay on the designated island trail system. No off-trail hiking is permitted. The island was a former bombing range and there are possible unexploded ordnance. In addition, visitors must be accompanied by a ranger beyond the ranger station. When not accompanied by a ranger, visitors may explore Cuyler Harbor beach, Nidever Canyon, the Cabrillo Monument, and the Lester Ranch site.
For more information on San Miguel Island you can visit: https://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/san-miguel-island.htm