Hiking on Angle Island offers a contrast from the hustle of life in San Francisco yet is only a short ferry from Tiburon or San Francisco. The 760 acres of Angel Island are home to many species of wild life including deer, lizards and birds including hawks, owls as well as many more species. There are numerous picnic tables spaced around the island perfect for a lunch prepared by the Angel Island café. The Mt. Ida turkey wrap and Alcatraz Veggie wrap are both perfect to bring on your hike and can be prepared to go by the friendly staff. During the summer the weather can vary from windy and foggy to hot and sunny depending on the day so it is important to check the weather on the day of your arrival. On the hot summer days there is no better reward for completing your hike than having a cold drink and ice cream over looking Ayala cove, both of which are offered by the Angel Island Café.
Maps are available for free on the island and can be accessed through this link –> State Park Map
- Perimeter Trail
The perimeter trail offers views of the entire San Francisco Bay along the 5.5mile loop around the island. This the most popular trails on the island and is open to hikers and bikes (rentals available at the island on a first come basis). The route offers a variety of views; on a clear day from San Francisco side of the island near battery Ledyard one can see the Golden Gate bridge, Bay bridge, and Alcatraz from a single vantage point. The road around the island is paved but contains a few major hills as well as rolling hills totaling up to about 350 in total elevation gain. The two steepest hills are Climbing up from Ayala Cove as well as going up to four corners if you travel counter clockwise on the perimeter road or going up to the Nike missile base (steeper) if you travel clockwise. The directions are based on the state park map with the top of the page being north.
In addition to hiking the island there are open air tram tours as well as guided Segway tours of the island that offer the same views from the perimeter road while providing an in depth history of the island. The tram tours are great for families and groups of all ages interested in learning the history of the island and enjoying the views of the bay in a more relaxed setting.
2.Top of Mt. Livermore
The peak of Mt. Livermore is 788 feet tall and has views that span all of the island and bay area from it’s top. The name of the peak comes from Caroline Livermore a conservationist who’s efforts in protecting the island led to Angel Island becoming a state park enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors every year. This is a strenuous hike starting starting at sea level then climbing to the peak (788 feet). There are two routes one following the Sunset trail, from the cove to the peak it is a little over 3 miles and 800 feet of elevation gain. The other route is to follow the North ridge trail to the peak this hike is about 3.5 miles and the same elevation gain but starts with 144 steps going up to the perimeter road. Both of theses trails intersect about a third of a mile from the peak allowing hikers to choose a different route down. This is a difficult hike but rewards hikers with panorama views of the bay. While at the summit there are tables perfect for a picnic prepared to go by the Angel Island café staff.
3.U.S. Immigration Station
This National Historic landmark was created as a tribute to the close to a million immigrants that were processed through the station when it was operational from 1910-1940. During its operation immigrants from over 80 countries were processed through its gates including 175,000 Chinese immigrants. These Chinese immigrants were specifically restricted from immigration because of the 1882 Chinese exclusion act; during their detainment a few Chinese immigrants carved pomes into the walls of the barracks, many of which have been restored and are still visible today. The immigration station is a 1.5mile walk from the ferry location and contains 144 stairs if traveling on the north ridge trail. The Angel Island Company also offers a guided nature hike and tram shuttle service to the Immigration Station. The best way to experience both of these is to reserve a space online.