Crossing the channel to Anacapa Island, one begins to understand why the name of the island was derived from the name of Chumash Native American Indian, Anypakh. Looking to change shape in the summer fog or the afternoon heat, the three islands of Anacapa look like an island of deception or mirage. Almost five miles long, these islands (appropriately named East, Middle and West Anacapa Islands) are inaccessible by boat. They have a total area of about one square mile (700 acres) of land. Waves have eroded the volcanic island, creating high-rise sea cliffs, sea caves, and natural bridges, such as the 40-foot-high Arch Rock, a symbol of Anacapa and Channel Islands National Park.Exploring East Anacapa's two-mile trail system allows visitors to experience the native vegetation, wildlife and cultural history of the island. Although the island vegetation looks brown and lifeless for much of the year, the winter rains transform the landscape. Emerging from dormancy, native plants come alive with colour. The strange sunflower tree, or coreopsis, blossoms with bright yellow bouquets that are so vivid and numerous that can sometimes be seen from the mainland. Vibrant red paintbrush, island morning glory, and pale buckwheat add color to the island's palette.
With two miles of hiking trails, ocean access near the campground and generally good weather, Anacapa Island offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and wildlife / wildflower viewing. In the summer, rangers run an underwater video program. The program includes live video footage of the life of the sea, which is projected for visitors to see. It's a great way to stay dry while watching colorful sea creatures.
Since Anacapa Island is a cliff island, access to the water is only through a dock at Landing Cove. Unless you have a watercraft, there are no other accessible beaches.
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