Published: October 7th 2011August 28th 2011
Hiking and biking Angel Island State Park
Day trippin' near San Francisco
In our travels we’ve learned a few things….listen to the locals…they will tell you the places to go, the things to look at and experience. Sure, you can spend a lot of time on the internet and “google” this and that, but in the end, the locals opinions are important and you need to listen. Ever since we arrived in Northern California a few months ago, one person after another has mentioned that we should go out to Angel Island to explore. We’ve had dinner in Sausalito a few times and have had an opportunity to view the island from the deck of one of our favorite restaurants, the Horizon. It looked interesting enough. So what was the deal with this island?
We finally made it out there and it was well worth the trip.
A voyage to San Francisco will barely allow the time to visit this island due to all the regular tourist activities, but this is one of those hidden gems that shouldn’t be missed. It is accessible only by ferry, but that’s part of the fun of the journey to the “Ellis
Island” of the west. From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station processed approximately 1 million Asian immigrants entering into the US. It has also served as a fort, housing many thousands of American troops from several conflicts in the 20th century.
So under the cover of clouds we boarded a ferry at Tiburon and took the 20 minute ride to the island. And there of course, the adventure begins. We disembarked and immediately began hiking on the nearest trail which is well-marked and proceeded to blaze our trail (sorry for the literary license here) around the island. Actually, we had little idea that what started out to be a small trek to see the highlights of the island turned out to be a majestic, if somewhat tiring trip around the entire island on foot. Now before you start believing this is some great feat, it was in fact only about 7 miles or so, no reason to be truly impressed. On our ferry ride to the island we would guess more than 40 people took their bicycles with them. This appeared to be a good way to go around the island as well. Many families had kids
in tow and by all appearances, they were happy in their adventures.
The islands highest point is Mt. Livermore at 788 feet. The switchbacks and winding trails will take you to an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city of San Francisco. From our perspective one of the perks of hiking this island is to see one amazing view after another. Around each corner the light changes and it produces an ever-changing mood.
Explorers of all ages and interest can be entertained on Angel Island. Segway tours and Tram tours are offered to enjoy the sights and a bit of the history of the island. We know this because we kept passing these groups. To our credit, we never looked at one another and said, “wish we’d done that.” We were perfectly content on our little hike and had even brought a small lunch, which we sat and ate looking at a quite nice view of the fog in the San Francisco Bay, watching the Golden Gate Bridge spires come in and out of view. The island offers 9 miles of paved roads and many park benches to stop to enjoy the views. If you
don’t have your bike with you rental bikes are available on the island. Hikers will find 13 miles of trails and roadways.
On weekends, musical entertainment is available on the island. We made some new friends, Bruce and Susan, while we were circling the island so we stopped at the café on the island and listened to music. They both stopped as well and we reposed with a cold beverage or two and took in the music. Always a pleasure to make new acquaintances! We all took the ferry back to Tiburon and then walked the lanes of that seaside town and enjoyed the street fair. We enjoyed the sights and the conversation of new friends.
Our hope is to go back to the island on a cool, crisp fall or winter day and enjoy those ever changing views. We’ll let you know how that works out……
There are more photos below