Lobo Canyon is a very popular hike on Santa Rosa Island. The hike is 9 miles round trip to the canyon mouth, but I recommend going past the canyon mouth and travelling through to the cove.
We started our hike early and didn’t make it far before I had to stop due to blisters my boots were giving me. I had never had a problem with these boots but, on the island nothing we did could prevent the blisters from worsening. I ended up switching to my Havaiana sandals and did the whole hike in them (not recommended but it wasn’t awful). The start of our hike was foggy and misty, something our Arizona selves were not acclimated to, but it made the island feel that much more incredible and a little eerie at the same time. The ranger had told us this was an easy doable hike but, I’m not sure I would classify it as such, it was definitely more strenuous than we expected. Nonetheless, it was also more beautiful than I could’ve ever imagined. Once you reach the canyon mouth you hike through what feels like multiple ecosystems. At the end of the canyon is a cove, basically a private beach, there were one or two other campers there when we arrived but they trickled out, and soon Brian and I had the cove to ourselves. Everywhere you looked was stunning and it felt like we weren’t sharing it with anyone. Despite doing the hike in sandals, I would do it a million times over again.
Before becoming part of the Channel Islands National Park, Santa Rosa Island was privately owned, and used for cattle ranching (what a nice life those cattle had). According to the ranger there are still 5 horses left on the island from the cattle ranchers. They were too old to move back and get to live out their days on the island. We were told they tend to stay hidden, so we didn’t spot them. On our last day we explored the old barns, it’s as if time was frozen, there are still horse shoes, tools, auto parts, etc. laying around.
Overall our camping trip to Santa Rosa Island was successful, I won’t lie and say I wasn’t excited to get back to real food and cell service, because I was. However, I wouldn’t trade those days for anything. Here are some of the lessons we learned on this adventure.
- My hot chocolate was my savior – It tasted like the best thing ever, I splurged and got more expensive mint hot chocolate, and I am so glad I did, I looked forward to it every evening and every morning.
- We should’ve brought something to flavor the water, when Brian camped on Santa Cruz he raved about how the water tasted but, on Santa Rosa it tasted awful. Some powdered Gatorade would’ve made it a lot easier to stay hydrated.
- Nice Socks! Before we went Brian went on and on about having nice socks and I always thought socks are socks who cares? But, he was right, I bought two pairs of socks at REI and it was like walking on clouds.
- Speaking of footwear having nice boots is no joke. I should’ve checked mine before we left, I spent the rest of trip limping around due to my long hike in sandals.
- Have some cash on you! This sounds so silly because no there isn’t a store on the island but there is on the ferry! Brian had a beer and I had a Gatorade, I swear a yellow Gatorade has never tasted as good.