Hiking Angel Island State Park

One of the advantages of having a birthday awesome friends is being able to persuade them to do crazy things like wake up at 8:00 am on a Saturday, take an hour-long ferry ride and go on a 5+ mile hike just for fun.

Angel Island group pic

{at the end of the day}

We stuck mostly to the primary trail on Angel Island, a 5 mile Perimeter Road that loops around the entire island. From the Perimeter Road, there are lots of side excursions and secondary trails, including some that will lead you to the top of the island, Mt. Livermore.

angel island map

{source}

Our first order of business was an impromptu photo shoot.

angel island

{borrowed from Y}

Angel Island is sometimes called the Ellis Island of the West. In the early 1900s it was used as a processing center for immigrants coming to the United States, primarily from China. The immigration station has been turned into a museum, and tours are available to detail the experiences of the immigrants.

Immigration Station

The museum is about a mile from the ferry docking area. As you continue farther along the Perimeter Road, there’s no shortage of views…

angel island

views

…or spooky ruins. Could you imagine camping here?! It’s got B-horror movie set written all over it!

ruins

Halfway through our hike, it was time to refuel. White wine and salsa verde Doritos, because we’re classy like that.

picnic

There’s a cantina and a cafe on the island for lunch offerings, but there are so many awesome picnic opportunities on the island, it’s worth it to pack in your own food and drinks.

Refueled and ready to go, we found a nice little beach that we had all to ourselves.

beach

Going off the main path to explore all the nooks and crannies Angel Island has to offer is a must, but be prepared for inclines and stairs of doom to get back to the main trail. Buns of steel!

stair masters

If you do eat at one of the places by the ferry dock, it’ll be overpriced and nothing to write home about. The quinoa salad at the cafe was a win, especially with chicken added to it.

lunch

A couple of ice cold beers later, and we were ready to sail off into the sunset.

ferry

RouteWhen you get off the ferry, you’ll see a sign for the Northridge Trail, and 140 lovely, steep steps. Take these steps (and feel the burn) until you get to the second paved road with signs for the Perimeter Road.  You can go left or right around the Perimeter Road, or follow signs leading to Mt. Livermore. If you choose not to go up to Mt. Livermore at this point, there are trails further down the Perimeter Road that will also take you to the top. The summit of Mt. Livermore is at 788 feet.

Details: The Perimeter Road is a paved, easy, 5 mile loop with a few gently rolling hills. If you plan on going up to Mt. Livermore, or connecting some of the inside trails to the Perimeter Road for a longer hike, difficulty will become moderate to hard.

Rules: Bikes are allowed on the paved Perimeter Road, but not on other trails.

Tips: Angel Island is only accessible by ferry or private boat. If you’re vacationing in the San Francisco Bay area, taking a day trip to explore Angel Island is a great way to add an active day to your vacation. If you’re not up for a hike, there are other options including bike rentals, segway tours, and tram rides. The island is mostly direct exposure, so sun screen is a must and hats/sunglasses are a good idea. We had gorgeous weather, but it’s easy to see how a windy day could be miserable. Be sure to bring layersThere’s a ton of history on Angel Island, so check out the state park website to figure out what spots you want to explore in-depth.

A shout out to my peoples for being up for an adventure and making my birthday unforgettable! Happy hiking!

Always, Sierra

fun times

{borrowed from J}

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