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Hike: Angel Island State Park

A Historic Hike in the Middle of the San Francisco Bay

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Sausalito area hikers have some of the best hiking in the Bay Area just outside their front door with Mt. Tamalpais and the Marin Headlands almost within walking distance of downtown Sausalito, but for something a little bit different, take a trip by boat out to Angel Island and discover one of the most distinctly Bay Area hiking experiences.

A hike to the summit of a mountain in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, with three hundred and sixty degree views of the Bay Area, the San Francisco skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and more is truly a unique hiking experience and one that should not be missed. Surprisingly, although the State Park and island are readily accessible by ferry, this hike often gets forgotten amongst the multitude of other North Bay Area hikes and many avid Bay Area hikers have never had this pleasure.

Angel Island is a Historic State Park that commemorates the Immigration Station that served the West Coast from 1910 to 1940. Processing nearly 1 million immigrants in that period, mostly Asian, Angel Island was sometimes referred to as the Ellis Island of the West and served as the main ingress port for the United States on this side of the country. In addition to the many miles of trails and campgrounds usually found in State Parks, Angel Island is also home to a museum and interpretive exhibits commemorating the immigration phase of its existence.

Note: Unless you are staying the night in the campground facilities, be sure to appropriately time your hike so that you are able to catch your return ferry.

Hiking Mt. Livermore

Mount Caroline Livermore is the mountain in the center of Angel Island and rises to a height of nearly 800 feet over the surrounding waters of the San Francisco Bay. This particular hike ascends to the summit and then loops back down and around to the starting point to complete the loop.

Starting out at the ferry landing, take the signed route for the Northridge trail through the trees and up a slight incline where you will soon cross over a paved road to continue again on the Northridge Trail on the opposite side. The route remains straightforward, staying on the Northridge trail for several miles winding its way up the mountain until near the summit you come to a signed junction.

At this junction, follow the signs to the right and ascend to the peak of Mt. Livermore. Taking in the stunning views from this point actually makes the entire journey worth the effort. There are very few places In the Bay Area that have a view that can compare to this and the summit is the perfect place to rest and take a break while enjoying the fruits of your labors.

Once ready to head back down, retrace your steps to the last junction and turn right onto what is now the Sunset Trail. Passing several junctions on the way back down the mountain, you will stay on Sunset Trail bearing right in each instance. Once back to within sight of the ferry landing, you will make a left and head back out to catch your ferry back to Tiburon.

Getting from Sausalito to Angel Island

Getting from Sausalito to Angel Island requires the use of the Angel Island Ferry service which can be readily accessed from wither the neighboring community of Tiburon or across the Bay in San Francisco. Most hikers traveling from downtown Sausalito to Angel Island opt to use the Tiburon Ferry landing and access Tiburon either by making the short drive or by utilizing public transportation.

For ferry schedules and rates, see:

Angel Island Ferry
12 Main St.
Tiburon, CA 94920
(415)435-2131
http://www.angelislandferry.com

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Photos copyright by Jay Graham Photographer