» anacapa island, channel islands national park
not long ago, i had never heard of anacapa island or the channel islands national park. now i would consider it to be one of the most beautiful and interesting places i've been. anacapa is a very small but dramatically jagged island located about 12 miles off the coast, just north of LA. it takes about an hour to get there by boat and there were huge ocean swells during our boat ride out, making it feel like a rollercoaster ride. once on the island, there is not really anything to do but enjoy the views, wildlife, and watch the ocean waves smack against the rocks below. seeing sunrise and sunset on the island would have been nice but that would've required camping overnight which we did not do.

on our way out to the island, we ran into a "feeding frenzy" involving probably thousands of birds and hundreds of dolphins. the dolphins were too quick to photograph but click here to see a movie of the action.

a sea cave and "blowhole" in the landing cove. these pictures don't capture it, but in person these things were cool to watch as the water rushed in and out. true to it's name, the "blowhole" periodically shot out a rush of trapped air and water. some park rangers did a dive in this cove with video cameras and broadcast it to us on the surface. they found lobsters, sea stars, sea anemones, sea urchins, and some fish, without even breaking a sweat.

inspiration point on anacapa island

middle and west anacapa islands as seen from inspiration point on east anacapa.

rocks on the east side, arch rock (the dots on top of arch rock are birds, mostly brown pelicans), and looking west from the north side of the island.

this is the island itself, looking to the west from the east side. it is a relatively flat but slanted piece of land surrounded by ~150 foot cliffs on all sides. the vegetation was mostly brown when we were there but in the late spring the island blooms with flowers. the buildings were once used by the coastguard and are now used by the national park.

cliffs on the south side of the island, and cathedral cove on the north side.

many parts of the island are occupied by seagulls and pelicans.

pinniped point

pinniped point, where sea lions/seals frollick.

a closer look at the seals and/or sea lions.

another view from inspiration point.

some sea lions/seals can be seen in the bottom left of this picture, swimming in the shallows.

arch rock and the lighthouse on the east end of the island.

me on the edge of the cliffs, a secluded beach below, and us.

» anza-borrego desert
we headed out to the anza-borrego desert for a day hike up hellhole canyon. the hike was supposed to culminate with a roaring desert waterfall but it was barely dripping with water when we got there. not a big surprise given that the winter rains hadn't started yet.
anza-borrego hellhole canyon

clouds build behind hellhole canyon.

indianhead peak

indianhead peak rising 4,000 feet above the flat desert floor.

a palm tree oasis in hellhole canyon.

a palm tree up close, and megan negotiating past some rocks in the canyon.

after hellhole canyon, we drove through the badlands located near the salton sea.

» iron mountain
iron mountain is a moderate 5.8 mile hike which affords beautiful views in all directions.
iron mountain

iron mountain as seen from the trailhead.

woodson mountain and some others.

with rocks and without.

layers to the south.

more rocks.

the view east from the top of iron mountain.

us, and switchbacks.

» glider port, la jolla
we went for a short hike near the glider port, down the cliffs and back via a fun little canyon trail that has a couple of waterfalls and interesting rock formations in it.

a very thin, drinking fountain-like waterfall, megan hiking in the canyon, and the canyon wall.


< Back to Photos & Trip Reports

» all photo reports from southern california
San Diego, California
December 18 - 31, 2012
Photos from Torrey Pines and Encinitas.
La Jolla, California
June 9 - 20, 2011
Photos from the coastline around La Jolla.
Cabrillo National Monument, California
May 28, 2009
Enjoying the great views from Point Loma. Not a lot of (good) photos though.
San Diego, California
August 7 - 12, 2008
Not many photos, we mostly hung out at the beach.
La Jolla, California
December 23 - 30, 2007
Hiking around Torrey Pines, enjoying the views from Mount Soledad, and walking along La Jolla Cove.
San Diego, California
December 25 - 29, 2006
Pictures from Torrey Pines, La Jolla beaches, and Iron Mountain.
Santa Catalina Island & San Diego, California
July 20 - 26, 2006
Sailing around Santa Catalina Island and hiking around Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego.
Santa Catalina Island, California
May 6, 2006
Hiking to Lone Tree Point on Santa Catalina Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Los Angeles.
Southern California
August 25 - 30, 2005
Hiking in the Laguna Mountains, and kayaking La Jolla Shores.
Southern California
February 10 - 15, 2005
Pictures from multiple trips, including Torrey Pines, Big Bear, Anza-Borrego Desert, and Santa Barbara.
Around California
August 11 - 26, 2012
From San Diego to Yosemite to Lake Tahoe.
San Diego, California
December 21 - 31, 2009
A few photos from the beach.
Joshua Tree, California
December 22 - 31, 2008
A quick trip through Joshua Tree National Park and a few other places near San Diego.
San Diego, California
March 27 - April 1, 2008
Wandering the beaches of La Jolla, checking out the Anza-Borrego Desert, and doing a quick hike near Iron Mountain.
Torrey Pines, California
January 20, 2007
A few pictures from an evening walk along the beach in Torrey Pines State Park.
Big Sur, California
July 22, 2006
Driving up the California coast from San Diego to Monterey, checking out Morro Bay, San Simeon, McWay Falls, Big Sur, and Point Lobos.
San Diego, California
May 4 - 8, 2006
Hiking around the San Diego area: Torrey Pines, La Jolla Cove, San Diego Gliderport, and some inland canyons.
Southern California
November 10 - 14, 2005
Hiking in the Anza-Borrego Desert, exploring Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park, and climbing Iron Mountain.
Southern California
May 2005
Hiking to Cedar Falls, up Woodson Mountain, and through La Jolla Valley.
Torrey Pines, California
My favorite photos from Torrey Pines State Reserve in San Diego.