Smugglers Cove Trail

Ventura, California

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1 Review
4 out of 5
Smugglers Cove is a beautiful sandy bay on the eastern edge of Santa Cruz Island, away from the ocean winds and tumult of the open Pacific Ocean. Originally the inlet was named for a group of “pirates” who used the natural shelter of the cove to protect their merchandise. In the late 1800s it seemed a perfect place for a ranch, complete with self-sustaining agricultural pursuits, an extensive sheep operation, and a winery. The olive grove still stands, along with some fruit and nut trees by the old ranch house.

Smugglers Cove Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Smugglers Cove is a beautiful sandy bay on the eastern edge of Santa Cruz Island, away from the ocean winds and tumult of the open Pacific Ocean. Originally the inlet was named for a group of “pirates” who used the natural shelter of the cove to protect their merchandise. In the late 1800s it seemed a perfect place for a ranch, complete with self-sustaining agricultural pursuits, an extensive sheep operation, and a winery. The olive grove still stands, along with some fruit and nut trees by the old ranch house."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Ventura
Distance: 8.25
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 4.5 hours
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 10 feet
Top Elevation: 700 feet
Local Contacts: Channel Islands National Park
Local Maps: USGS Santa Cruz Island D

Smugglers Cove Trail Reviews

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9/6/2009
Steep climb on maintained dirt road, although there are a couple of shortcuts. Hot and humid this time of year and little shade. Be prepared with all the water you can carry and plenty of food. Interesting to be hiking on an island and see evidence of decades of ranching. Great views of the island canyons and terraces, Anacapa Island, and the ocean, but trail itself is not picturesque. You need to be familiar with and enamored with southern California coastal hiking. Bring suit to cool off in Smuggler's Cove, where you will find fun snorkling and small waves. Beach is rocky at high tide but sandy at low tide. Appears to be several off-shoot non-listed trails for the more adventurous. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours each way, depending on your skill. Don't let my less-than-sparkling comments keep you from coming here--the entire experience, from the ferry ride in, to the great visitor's center, to the hike and snorkling, was WELL worth the trip.
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Jun 2018