In the middle of San Francisco Bay sits Angel Island State Park, offering spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. The island is also alive with history. Three thousand years ago the island was a fishing and hunting site for Coastal Miwok Indians. It was later a haven for Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala, a cattle ranch, and a U.S. Army post. From 1910 to 1940, the island processed nearly a million immigrants from more than 80 countries, the majority from China. During World War II, Japanese, and German POWs were held on the island, which was also used as a jumping-off point for American soldiers returning from the Pacific. In the '50s and '60s, the island was home to a Nike missile base. Today, there is one automated active Coast Guard station - at Point Blunt - on the island (this area is off limits). Angel Island became a State Park in 1954. Access to the Island is by private boat or public ferry from San Francisco, Tiburon and seasonal service from Oakland and Alameda. There is limited weekday ferry service to Angel Island during the winter (check with ferry provider). Tips & Rules: • Bicycles can be brought to the island on the ferry and used on the island's main roads. Bikes can also be rented seasonally. • Dogs are not allowed on the island, service animals excepted. • Roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, and scooters are prohibited. • Bring camp stove or charcoal, no wood fires allowed. • Night travel after sunset on the island is prohibited in some areas for park security and public safety. • Personal Segways are not permitted on the island, unless it is being used as an assistance device for a disabled person. Segway rentals are available for guided tours only.

Unparalleled views of the Bay Area - San Francisco, Marin, and three bridges (Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge and Richmond Bridge).

We started on the Sunset Trail, which has switchbacks and a gradual ascent to Mt. Livermore with lovely views of the bay. We came down along the Ida Trail to the Perimeter Trail so that we could see the old military barracks and the immigration detention center on our way back to the cove. This route was about 6.5 miles.

You can get to the peak quicker by going up the steps, but you will not have the same views on your way up. Even though the island was crowded on a Saturday afternoon in June, the Sunset Trail had few people on the ascent. I think most people want to get to the peak as quickly as possible -- it is very exposed to the sun. We still ate lunch near the peak - there is a nice picnic table and landing just down from the peak with amazing views of the city, Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge.

The trails to the peak (Sunset, North Ridge and Ida) have a lot of thistle in the summer, so I recommend wearing pants or heavy hiking socks to protect your legs. The Perimeter trail is a wide paved road. Bring lots of sunblock.

You can get to Angel Island from a number of ferry ports. We traveled from Tiburon, a very wealthy bayfront town in Marin

Did this on Sunday afternoon about 3 and half hours. Very light trafficked. Nice combination of history buildings and scenery. Trail is pretty much a flat road so prepare comfortable shoes.

mountain biking
25 days ago

1 month ago

It was fun taking the ferry to the hike. Nice easy climb to the top of the island, great views. Pack a picnic. There are actually two hike options: up to the top and around the perimeter. Both around five miles. This is a highly trafficked hike with lots of tourists and kids; not super woodsy. Cafe and live band at the trailhead were a nice touch. Good day trip for out-of-towners.