Angel Island Summit Loop

Marin County

Views over the San Francisco Bay and rich history on the hike to the top of Mount Livermore.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
8.2 km
Ascent
270 m
Descent
270 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
0 m
High Point
235 m
Gradient
Angel Island Summit Loop Map

Angel Island is the largest island in the San Francisco Bay. Though it’s not as famous as its much-smaller neighbor Alcatraz, Angel has much more to offer in activities and scenery. Those include hiking, biking, camping, and cuisine. There’s also a lot of history here pertinent to wars and immigration. You can learn about it at the visitor center and by hiking the trails to see remnants of the past. Besides that, natural scenery on the island is pretty spectacular as well. By hiking this loop, you’ll get views off every side of the island, over The Bay and surrounding cities. There are shady groves, open meadows, and chapparal thickets in a patchwork covering the slopes.

Description

The highpoint of the island is called Mount Livermore. North Ridge Trail and Sunset Trail both reach it from different directions. This loop takes North Ridge—the longer and more scenic of the two—in the uphill direction, and Sunset Trail to go downhill. If you want to stop in the visitor center before beginning the hike, you may prefer to loop in the opposite direction, because Sunset begins nearer to the visitor center. North Ridge Trail begins right at the ferry dock, close to the Angel Island Café.

You can only reach Angel Island by ferry, either from San Francisco or from Tiburon. Buying the ferry ticket, hearing offers for Segway tours, and seeing advertisements for the café makes the place feel rather commercialized at first, but after starting the trail you’ll leave all that behind.

The trails can be crowded, but aren’t always. Most people stick to the lower elevations of the island. Hiking to the top gives the place a much wilder and natural feel, so it’s well worth the effort. There are a few picnic areas near the top where you can enjoy a packed lunch, or wait until you get down for a specialty meal at the Angel Island Café.

Sources: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?pageid=468 https://angelisland.com/hiking/ https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/468/files/AngelIslandSPFinalWeb070618.pdf

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area