Angel Island


Angel Island

Written by Scott Messmore

While Angel Island is less well known than its island fortress neighbor Alcatraz, it still has plenty to offer visitors who like to hike, camp and enjoy the great outdoors.

Angel Island Camp Sites

Angel Island has nine camp sites with running water, tables and food lockers. Sailboats can dock at available boat slips or buoys are off shore to tie up to if you don't want to come ashore for the night.

Angel Island Day Trips

Strenuous kayaking tours can be taken for all day trips around the island. You can even get married at the Fort McDowell Post Chapel if you're overcome by the romantic San Francisco Bay views.

Ancient Indians and Pacific Immigration

Angel Island is sometimes referred to as the "Ellis Island of the West" due to the large number of immigrants and refugees that entered the United States on the island. Miwok Indians hunted for game on the island and the U.S. military later placed troops on Angel Island during the Civil War and Spanish American War of 1898. Prisoners of war were kept on Angel Island in World War II and from 1955 to 1962 there were Nike missiles emplaced to ward off any pesky Russian bombers trying to strike the American mainland. Visitors will find several historical sites including the Immigration Station which is on the National Registry of Historical Landmarks. Angel Island is also a sightseers dream with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, the Oakland-San Francisco Bridge, Sausalito and Tiburon.

Angel Island Hiking

Mount Livermore is nearly 800 feet tall and a great hike for the trail running crowd. For bicyclists, there are eight miles of trails. Hikers won't be left out with 13 miles of trails to explore Monterey Pines, elderberry bushes, coyote brush and Madrone trees. The trails aren't killer hikes: the Sunset Trail is two miles long and the Northridge Trail is only 1.7 miles long.

Hours of Operation and Location

Angel Island is obviously an island, which means a scenic boat trip for visitors. To take the Angel Island-Tiburon ferry call 415-435-2131. To sail with the Blue & Gold Fleet, call 415- 705-5444. Ferry service during the winter months is on a limited basis. Angel Island is open to the public all year long from 8 a.m. to dusk.

Angel Island Boating and Camping

Campers will be charged $10 per night, Sunday through Thursday and $11 on the weekends during high season. In the off season, winter time that is, campsites are $7 a night, all week long. Boat slips are first come first serve and open from 8 a.m. to dusk. Boat slips are 30-feet and 50-feet long and cost $5 for up to eight passengers and $3 for each additional sailor. For the ocean kayakers, call 415-488-1000 to register for a trip. No experience in kayaks in needed to take the trip around the island.

For general information about tram rides around Angel Island, wedding reservations, group rates for parties up to 1,000 call Angel Island Tram Tours and Catered Events at 800-444-7245. To contact the Angel Island Association call 415-435-3522.

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