Breaking through the dense fog, a clear blue sky peeked through the Arch Rock at Anacapa Island as we approached the landing cove. It might be a sunny day after all but we’d have to wait to find out. True to it’s Chumash name, Ennepah, which means mirage or illusion, Anacapa Island had once again changed her face. The table-top mesa was no longer visible and we were dwarfed by steep cliffs above us.

Should we challenge the 157 steps to the top? The second smallest island in the Channel Islands National Park suddenly looked a long way off. “Just take your time” the ranger barked. With a bit of encouragement from a volunteer naturalist, we made the ascent within 10 minutes but weren’t prepared for what we found on top!

Some would say Anacapa is barren, flat, and not much there but with every season’s metamorphosis,it live’s up to its name with an ever-changing landscape. We were on the East end of three islets: East, Middle and West that comprise this island terrain stretching 5 miles long and 1/4 mile wide in all.

The island is volcanic in origin and the ocean has eroded the shoreline creating craggy high cliffs, seacaves and the famous Arch Rock. An iconic symbol used for Anacapa and the Channel Islands National Park.

Anacapa is the second smallest island in the Channel Islands National Park and is the closest to the mainland. It is actually made up of 3 islets that are a

Many seabirds nest here including California Brown Pelicans and Western Gulls.

Vegetation includes giant coreopsis, red paintbrush, island morning glory and island buckwheat.

The rocky shoreline hosts California sea lions and harbor seals and you can hear their barking from most anywhere on the island.

Rich kelp forests and seacaves with abundant sea life provide great kayaking, snorkeling, and diving adventures.

There is a visitor’s center with educational material including the original lead-crystal Fresnal lens from the lighthouse a water tank building and the keepers quarters.

One campground with 7 campsites.

Known as the island of illusion or mirage by the native Chumash Indians, Anacapa was continually changes appearance in different weather conditions and from your point of view. Appreciate it’s rugged, pristine beauty from a different perspective at different times of year.