Backpacking trails in the Channel Islands

Backpacking on the Channel Islands is a lovely experience, especially with its wonderful sights, and fun activities. This article will help you plan the trip and know about the rules and regulations you have to follow as well. Read on to find out more about the different islands with their backpacking trails!


This is the biggest Channel Island at around 47 square miles, and a very popular destination due to its pleasant climate, long beaches, and rich culture.

North Coast Cliff Path

Sharp cliffs plunging down to secluded coves and beaches, along with steep paths dense with bramble and fern – this dramatic scenery is what you can expect while walking down this path.

If you are an avid birdwatcher, you will find plenty of them – seagulls, terns and skylarks.

Follow the North Coast cliff path from Rozel to Greve de Lecq for 12 miles and stop at Priory Inn for lunch. If you wish to explore further, go up to Plemont Beach.

Seabed Walk to Icho Tower

Jersey is well-known for its notable tides – did you know the difference in shoreline between high and low tide could be up to two miles?

When it is low tide, you can visit the intertidal zone, the part of beach that becomes submerged when the high tide rolls back in. This is a fabulous chance to see different types of plants and animals that are typically seen underwater.

You will be lucky if the tide is low enough to walk all the way to Icho Tower (one of the defence towers), the farthest one from the shore. The walk is full oyster beds and barnacle-spattered rocks with anemones bobbing in and out of the water, just be careful walking here with your backpack!!

Greve de Lecq, Jersey

Greve de Lecq, Jersey


Guernsey is 24 square miles, and has gorgeous beaches, cliff walks, and lovely rolling hills.

From St. Peter Port to Portelet

This is a long and hard walk, so do NOT choose this trail if you are not experienced.

Starting at the heart of the island’s capital – St. Peter Port, follow the path past the Bathing Pools and then climb up to the Clarence Battery to witness the breathtaking views of the neighbouring islands. If you go during spring, you can explore the Bluebell Woods, walk up to German watch towers, and feast on gȃche.

From Rousse to Pembroke

This portion of the island is mostly untouched, so you have ample opportunity to experience its wild beauty, while learning a bit of its history. The walk begins at Rousse Tower – one of the 15 loophole towers built to protect against possible invasion by the French at the end of the 18th century.

Follow the trail to Grand Havre and Vale Pond – here you can clearly see how Guernsey was once two islands, parted by a saltwater channel.

If you are a history buff, you will enjoy landmarks like Les Fouaillages, and Le Varde Passage Grave, on the way.

Pembroke Bay, Guernsey

Pembroke Bay, Guernsey


Famous for its traditional lifestyle, flora, and fauna, this island is just 3.5 miles long and 1.2 miles wide.

Southern Cliffs and Wildlife Bunker

Want to experience scintillating cliff views? You will be spellbound by them from the start of this walk. It begins from the Visitor Information Centre in town, from where you stroll through an area of grassland called Val du Saou, you will spot Alderney’s only reptile, the slow worm!

Go on to the woods, and across the bridge, and then move on to the main coastal path. If you come during the spring, there are beautiful bluebells in bloom, while birds chirp constantly.

You could go on to the main coastal path or take a steeper and more remote route. This part of the trail leads right to the Wildlife Bunker.

The Gannet Trail

This walk follows a path close to the edge of the cliff, so proceed with caution. The best time to walk this trail is between May and October, when the headland is covered in yellow gorse, with gannets being spotted at Les Etacs.

Did you know 12,000 gannets can be found in Les Etacs between March and October?

You can check out the smaller islands of Sark and Brecqhou in the distance as well.

Alderney trails

Alderney trails

Sark, Europe’s Youngest Democracy 

Sark is the smallest of the four central British Channel Islands – it is 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide.

Little Sark

The island of Sark is divided into two, with the southern peninsula known as Little Sark (a narrow isthmus). It is home to a hamlet, a guest house and some of the island’s most secluded coastal pools.

If you prefer peace and tranquillity, this is where you should be.

Leave the hamlet to the west and head south, all the way down to the coast. Then trace the headland eastward to begin a clockwise circle. The route basically takes you along Little Sark’s coastline with jagged cliff edges overlooking inlets filled with half-submerged rocks.

Stroll along the coast; you will come across the old silver mines, and then witness an amazing view from the southern tip, over Port Gorey. Before looping back, do enjoy a dip in the island’s hidden swimming spot – the Venus Pool.

La Coupée

This railed pathway sits atop Sark’s isthmus – the concrete walk moves along the narrow cliff edge, veers first left, then right, and merges with the rock beneath.

Be careful as the island falls away on either side, with sheer 300m drops to the coast below. You also have to watch out for horses and carts, as the span of a cart’s wheels is almost the entire width of the slim path.

Start at Creux Harbour, keep the coast on your left and keep walking until you get to the Pilcher Monument on the west side. You will see many pools, caves, and bays.

La Coupee, Sark

La Coupee, Sark


Herm, is a tiny islet 3 miles from Guernsey, and operated under a lease by the same family for three generations. If you want to take a break from the pandemonium of a busy city life, this island will be your haven. The one hotel here has no television, telephones, or clocks – what a digital detox!

Belvoir Bay

If you prefer seclusion, then spending time on this beach is a must. Sheltered from the prevailing southerly and westerly winds, this place is a favourite for those visiting Herm.

Cliff Walking

The south coast cliffs of Herm are well-known for some of the most spectacular views – you can enjoy by taking in views across the other Channel Islands, as well as the nearby coast of France.

Start from Belvoir Bay, and continue along the cliff path, till you reach the steps that you all the way around to near to the top of Rosaire Steps on the Herm’s west coast. You can spot a puffin or two in the sea during spring.

Backpacking in Channel Islands can be an extremely enjoyable experience, but you have to plan in advance!!

For instance, some facilities might not be easily available on the islands, so you need to know what you must carry, and which items are prohibited. Moreover, you have to pack according to the weather as well.

So what are you waiting for? Begin planning right away!

Would you like to learn more about the Channel Islands? Then don’t miss our latest article: Island hopping holiday in the Channel Islands