Rugged mountains, canyons, steep singletrack, sea caves, coastal cliffs, white-sand beaches, tide pools and charming little foxes the size of house cats—what’s not to love?
Channel Islands National Park, which encompasses five islands and lies just a few miles off the bustling beaches of Los Angeles, has it all. Half of the park’s quarter-million acres are located under the ocean—but on those that lie above ground, trails abound. Wildflowers blanket the islands’ grassy hillsides and coastal bluffs. Whales, dolphins, harbor seals and the native island foxes can frequently be seen. In fact, a full 145 species of plants and animals are endemic to the islands—that is, they’re found nowhere else on earth.
In the fall, the largest island, Santa Cruz, hosts a USATF-sanctioned 23K race called the Eco-Extreme Trail Run that concludes at the Scorpion Harbor Marine Reserve.