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14758
California

The Wildlife & Wonders of Channel Islands National Park

Explore the pristine ecology of Channel Islands National Park, discovering a wealth of unique flora, fauna and geology as you learn the islands’ story from local naturalists.
Rating (4.82)
Program No. 14758RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,259
California

The Wildlife & Wonders of Channel Islands National Park

Explore the pristine ecology of Channel Islands National Park, discovering a wealth of unique flora, fauna and geology as you learn the islands’ story from local naturalists.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,259
Length
6 days
Rating (4.82)
Starts at
1,259
Program No. 14758RJ

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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 16 - Oct 21, 2022
Starting at
1,259
Nov 6 - Nov 11, 2022
Starting at
1,259
Jan 29 - Feb 3, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Feb 19 - Feb 24, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Mar 19 - Mar 24, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Apr 2 - Apr 7, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Apr 23 - Apr 28, 2023
Starting at
1,599
May 14 - May 19, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Sep 10 - Sep 15, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Oct 15 - Oct 20, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Nov 5 - Nov 10, 2023
Starting at
1,599
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 16 - Oct 21, 2022
Starting at
1,599
Nov 6 - Nov 11, 2022
Starting at
1,599
Jan 29 - Feb 3, 2023
Starting at
1,969
Feb 19 - Feb 24, 2023
Starting at
1,969
Mar 19 - Mar 24, 2023
Starting at
1,969
Apr 2 - Apr 7, 2023
Starting at
1,969
Apr 23 - Apr 28, 2023
Starting at
1,969
May 14 - May 19, 2023
Starting at
1,969
Sep 10 - Sep 15, 2023
Starting at
1,969
Oct 15 - Oct 20, 2023
Starting at
1,969
Nov 5 - Nov 10, 2023
Starting at
1,969

At a Glance

Relatively untouched by modern culture, California’s Channel Islands National Park is an oasis of natural splendor. Journey by boat and experience two of the five islands that comprise the park and enjoy the sea life along the way. Get up close to the island’s rich array of plant life, sea birds and mammals — some found nowhere else in the world – and explore Ventura like a local as you immerse yourself in the treasures of this region.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles on uneven terrain. Climbing ladder and stairs.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Join local naturalists who add expert insight during expeditions to Channel Islands National Park.
  • Discover how the islands’ isolation has created a unique ecosystem as you study endemic plants and geology.
  • Trace the human history from the native Chumash people to explorers, fur traders, ranchers and scientists.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Margery Spielman
Margery Spielman is an accomplished environmental artist, lecturer, naturalist and professional diver. As a scuba instructor and stunt diver, she worked underwater on numerous television productions and for many years, worked on freelance assignments for The Cousteau Society, doing research, logistics, diving, speaking and illustrating. Described as a visionary realist, she’s exhibited her artwork in major Marine Art Expos from Hawaii to Paris. For over 25 years, Margery’s been the leading Naturalist in Road Scholar’s Channel Islands programs.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Margery Spielman
Margery Spielman View biography
Margery Spielman is an accomplished environmental artist, lecturer, naturalist and professional diver. As a scuba instructor and stunt diver, she worked underwater on numerous television productions and for many years, worked on freelance assignments for The Cousteau Society, doing research, logistics, diving, speaking and illustrating. Described as a visionary realist, she’s exhibited her artwork in major Marine Art Expos from Hawaii to Paris. For over 25 years, Margery’s been the leading Naturalist in Road Scholar’s Channel Islands programs.
Profile Image of Ken McAlpine
Ken McAlpine View biography
Ken McAlpine is an award-winning author who has written for various magazines ranging including National Geographic, winning three Lowell Thomas awards — travel writing's top award. Ken was born in Hong Kong and spent his childhood in Southeast Asia. He continued to travel throughout his life while writing, working on assignments from diving with white sharks to running the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. Ken currently lives in Ventura and likes to stand in his yard at night, looking at the stars.
Profile Image of Don Morris
Don Morris View biography
Don Morris retired in 2001 after enjoying a forty-one year career as a National Park Service archeologist, the last 16 years of which he spent at Channel Islands National Park. There he investigated and reported upon subjects ranging from historic shipwrecks and farmhouses to what are currently the oldest known human remains in North America, the Arlington Woman. In 1994, he worked as the project archeologist on the excavation of the most complete (94% or thereabouts) pygmy mammoth ever located on the Channel Islands.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
California the Beautiful
by Galen Rowell (Photographer)
Rowell's exquisite photographs are accompanied by excerpts from Joan Didion, M.F.K. Fisher, Jack London, William Saroyan and many other luminaries in this celebration of the nature and spirit of California.
Natural History of the Islands of California
by Allan A. Schoenherr (Author), C. Robert Feldmeth (Author), Michael J. Emerson (Author), David Mooney (Illustrator)
Islands have always been fascinating places, their separateness evoking a sense of mystery and inspiring a yearning for exploration. California's islands are unique evolutionary laboratories, places where plants and animals have grown and interacted in isolation for millions of years. This comprehensive book discusses both the human and the natural history of the islands of California, including all eight Channel Islands, Año Nuevo, the Farallons, and the islands of San Francisco Bay. It is also useful as a field guide for visitors, and details on reaching the islands are contained in the first chapter. The authors explore the formation of the islands; discuss the history of human habitation, beginning with the Native Americans who first visited the islands 12,000 years ago; and provide a thorough introduction to the marine and terrestrial biotas of the islands. The authors also discuss past damage and ongoing threats to island ecosystems, including devastation caused by the introduction of non-native animals and plants. Large herbivorous animals in particular have caused considerable damage, since island plants evolved in the absence of herbivores and therefore have no defenses against them.
Justinian Caire and Santa Cruz Island: The Rise and Fall of a California Dynasty
by Frederic Caire Chiles
One of the fabled Channel Islands of Southern California, Santa Cruz was once the largest privately owned island off the coast of the continental United States. This multifaceted account traces the island’s history from its aboriginal Chumash population to its acquisition by The Nature Conservancy at the end of the twentieth century. The heart of the book, however, is a family saga: the story of French émigré Justinian Caire and his descendants, who owned and occupied the island for more than fifty years. The author, descended from Caire, uses family archives unavailable to earlier historians to recount the full, previously untold story. The author looks at the family’s daily life on the island from the mid-nineteenth into the twentieth century. This epic contains tragic elements, as well. Family diaries and letters enable Chiles to tell the story of an intensely private clan and its struggle to hold an island dynasty together.
Santa Cruz Island: A History of Conflict and Diversity
by John Gherini
In this thorough history of the largest Channel Island, Gherini introduces the Chumash Indians who lived on the island in pre-Columbian times and details early European explorers and the Spanish-Mexican period, when the island became a haven for smugglers.
Images of America: Ventura
by Glenda Jackson
Local historian Jackson covers the history of Ventura, California, from the dedication of Mission San Buenaventura to its present status as the Gateway to the Channel Islands and home to more than 100,000. Includes archival photos.
Channel Islands National Park
by National Geographic Maps
A National Geographic Trails Illustrated map of the Channel Islands at a scale of 1:25,000. Waterproof, durable and tear-resistant, it is the perfect map to take along to the islands.
Islands Apart: A Year on the Edge of Civilization
by Ken McAlpine
Author Ken McAlpine stands in his front yard one night in Ventura, California, trying to see the stars. His view is diminished by light pollution, making it hard to see much of anything in the sky. Our fast-paced, technologically advanced society, he concludes, is not conducive to stargazing or soul-searching. Taking a page from Thoreau's Walden, he decides to get away from the clamor of everyday life, journeying alone through California's Channel Islands National Park. There, he imagines, he might be able to "breathe slowly and think clearly, to examine how we live and what we live for." What he discovers about himself and the world we live in will inspire anyone who wishes they had the time to slow down and notice the wonders of nature and humanity. Ken McAlpine is an award-winning travel writer whose work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Outside, Reader's Digest, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of Off-Season: Discovering America on Winter's Shore. He lives with his family in Ventura, California.
Images of America: The California Channel Islands
by Marla Daily (Santa Cruz Island Foundation)
Every day, thousands of Southern California residents see the California Channel Islands on the horizon, yet few can name all eight. Santa Catalina Island, third largest, is by far the best known. It is the only island with a city, Avalon, where dozens of hotels, shops, and restaurants await visitors year-round. Three of the islands are owned by the US Navy: San Clemente, San Nicolas, and San Miguel. Five islands fall within the boundaries of Channel Islands National Park: San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara Islands. Close to the mainland and yet worlds apart, scenic day trips and primitive camping opportunities are available on all five park islands. Cultural anthropologist and author Marla Daily of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation has spent her career researching the histories of all eight islands. The California Historical Society bestowed upon Daily its Distinguished Service Award for her extraordinary service and dedicated efforts in preserving Channel Islands history.
The Golden Shore, California's Love Affair With the Sea
by David Helvarg
In this eminently readable and well-researched tribute, Helvarg, an environmental journalist and filmmaker, considers the crosscurrents of culture, history, economy and myth that come together on the state’s golden shores.
A Guide to East Santa Cruz Island: Road, Trails, Routes, Scrambles, Landslides
by Don Morris
Don Morris's travel tips and authoritative accounts of the trails and routes available on East Santa Cruz Island, one of five islands preserved in the Channel Islands National Park, enable the hiker to enjoy this remote and beautiful island to the fullest. The legislation which established the CINP in 1980 emphasized the park's outstanding breeding grounds for seals and sea lions, beautiful and productive tide pools and kelp forests, and fabulous habitat for sea birds as well as its thousands of archeological sites, plants and animals that are found nowhere else. Don Morris retired in 2001 from the National Park Service after serving for sixteen years as Park Archeologist at Channel Islands National Park, his final posting in a forty year National Park Service career. While at CINP, he had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the park on foot, by kayak, by plane and helicopter to acquire the knowledge presented in this guidebook.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to California
by Peter Alden
A compact, easy-to-use guide to 1,000 California trees, wildflowers, mammals, insects, birds and other flora and fauna.
California's Channel Islands: A History
by Scott O'Dell
The Channel Islands, a string of eight islands off the coast of Southern California, are home to stunning landscapes and remarkable biodiversity. This scholarly work covers ecology as well as natural and human history.
California: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)
by Kevin Starr
Arguing that America’s most populous state has always been blessed with both spectacular natural beauty and astonishing human diversity, Starr unfolds a rapid-fire epic of discovery, innovation, catastrophe, and triumph. For generations, California’s native peoples basked in the abundance of a climate and topography eminently suited to human habitation. By the time the Spanish arrived in the early sixteenth century, there were scores of autonomous tribes were thriving in the region. Though conquest was rapid, nearly two centuries passed before Spain exerted control over upper California through the chain of missions that stand to this day. The discovery of gold in January 1848 changed everything. With population increasing exponentially as get-rich-quick dreamers converged from all over the world, California reinvented itself overnight. Starr deftly traces the successive waves of innovation and calamity that have broken over the state since then–the incredible wealth of the Big Four railroad tycoons and the devastating San Francisco earthquake of 1906; the emergence of Hollywood as the world’s entertainment capital and of Silicon Valley as the center of high-tech research and development; the heroic irrigation and transportation projects that have altered the face of the region; the role of labor, both organized and migrant, in key industries from agriculture to aerospace.





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