Angel Island State Park Trails:
Angel Island State Park
Angel Island State Park Overview
Views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the surrounding waterways from this wooded, 1.2-square-mile park combine to make Angel Island worth the sea-kayak trip or crowded ferry ride to get here. Accessible only by boat, the island is home to four primitive campgrounds and a decent variety of trails for hikers and cyclists.
The park’s prime location off the California mainland has beckoned humans for thousands of years, first the Miwok Indians 3,000 years ago, then Spanish explorers in the 18th century. The island also served as a Civil War outpost in the mid-1800s, as well as an immigration station, POW detention center, quarantine camp, and Nike missile site. Today, Angel Island boasts two Coast Guard stations, with a variety of guided tours of historic facilities available.
A total of 13 miles of paved and dirt trails weave through the island, including a five-mile loop trail that traces its perimeter, offering views of the bay. Trails tend to be less crowded than the visitor centers and historic sites, so you will likely find solitude while wandering. Take either the North Ridge or Ida trails to the top of Mt. Livermore, the highest point on the island at 788 feet, for an incredible view of the surrounding area. Dress in layers and bring sunscreen, as most trails here offer little shade.
There are four primitive campsites on the island, with a Kayak Camp on the island’s west side (be sure to secure your craft high above the tide line). No wood fires are allowed on the island, so bring camp stoves. Many sites are a good hike away from boat launches, so bring gear you can easily carry (or approach it as if backcountry camping).
Cyclists under age 18 must wear helmets, and bike rentals are available at the Cove Cafe on the island. Or you can bring your bike on the ferry. Nine paved miles of trails are open to cyclists, including Perimeter Road, which circumnavigates the island, offering spectacular views at every turn.
Call 415-435-3522 for tours and scheduling information, and visit angelisland.com to check ferry schedules and prices. The weather can be fickle here; dress in layers, expect wind on the ferry rides, and be prepared for dramatic weather changes from one part of the island to another.