Mt. Tam from Mt. Livermore
Mount Caroline Livermore is the high point of Angel Island which is Angel Island State Park
. Needless to say the 360 views of the SF Bay Area from this mountain in the middle of the bay are a visual revelation not to be missed.
Unless you have a boat or a kayak the only access to the island is by public ferry.
Angel Island was connected to the mainland 10,000 years ago but was turned into an island by the rise of the oceans after the last ice age.
The natural oak and coastal brush plant life of the island was wiped out by cattle grazing and the harvesting of wood in the 1800s. The Army and Immigration Service introduced non indigenous trees like eucalyptus and Monterey Pine. Since becoming a state park much of the native trees and shrubs are reappearing.
Deer and racoons inhabit the island. seals and sea lions can be found sunning on the rocks. Local birds are flickers, jays, hummingbirds, hawks and owls with egrets, blue herons and pelicans around the coves.
The island has a colorful history.
The earliest human inhabitants were coast Miwok indians about 2,000 years ago. In 1775 the Spanish anchored there and christened the island Isla de los Angeles
. In 1863 during the Civil War the US Army established a camp there to protect San Fransisco Bay. It was an embarkment zone for troops headed to the Pacific during World War II and a processing facility for war prisoners. The Army built a Nike Missile site there during the Cold War that became obsolete by 1962. Most of the island became a state park by 1963.
In 1891 a quarantine station was opened at Ayala Cove to detain and fumigate immigrants suspected of carrying diseases. Many were detained for lenthy periods of time (up to 3 months and a few for almost 2 years) especially the Chinese. It has been called the Ellis Island
of the west.
Sunset Trail near the top Angel Island Ferry at Ayala CoveFrom Tiburon
: From Hwy 101 at Mill Valley take the Blithedale exit east for 4.2 miles all the way out to downtown Tiburon. The ferry terminal is obvious to the right across from the circular roundabout right before the shoreline park. Bicycles can be brought on the ferry. The 1.2 mile ride to the island takes about 15 minutes.
Once on the island there are 2 easy trails out of Ayala Cove that go to the summit of Mt. Livermore.
Rangers greet you at the ferry landing to answer questions and have maps available. All the trails are marked with signs.
: Just to the left of the ferry landing this trail gradually winds up to the North Ridge and reaches the summit in 2.1 miles.
: Go right from the landing about a quarter mile past the visitor center and little park staying to the left up to the Perimeter Road and take the Sunset Trail. This easy trail switchbacks up through a forested area on up the northwest ridge 2.8 miles where it connects with the Northridge Trail going to the left and .3 miles to the summit.
Going up one trail and coming down the other makes for a nice 5 mile loop.
The easy level Perimeter Trail is also a 5 mile loop around the island at an elevation of 100 to 200'.
SF and Alcatraz Island from Mt. Livermore
Be prepared to shell out some bucks for this hike.
The round trip ferry fare is 13.50 per person.
Less for young children. Bikes are a dollar. Click here
for more details.
Tiburon is a ritzy little tourist town and street parking is all 2 hour limit which really isn't enough time for the hike when you take in the ferry ride which was 10 minutes late departure for us.
There are 2 public parking lots a block from the ferry that get you for $10 to $15 for about 3 hours. You could probably save this fee by arriving early and parking a mile or so away in a residential neighborhood them walking to the ferry terminal.
Bicycles are not permitted on the trails to Mt. Livermore.
For Tiburon ferry schedules click here
There are also the Blue and Gold Fleet ferrys to Angel Island out of San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda and Vallejo. These ferrys run less often and the various fees are generally more expensive than the Tiburon ferry.
for fees and schedules.
South pano from Mt. Livermore West pano from Mt. Livermore
The park has 4 environmental camping areas with water and pit toilets nearby.
For camping details and reservations click here
Current weather and 5 day forecast
Ayala Cove Angel Island
You definitely want to pick a day when the bay is clear if you want to enjoy the outstanding views. A crisp winter day after a storm front sweeps though would be a good time.
for current weather and 5 day forecast.