This hike is a moderate 6 mile loop, which begins with a quick ferry ride to Angel Island.

Unless you own a boat or a kayak, this adventure requires a ride on the Blue and Gold Ferry from Pier 41 in San Francisco. But let’s be honest, that’s actually half the fun. Who doesn’t love a ferry ride?

Angel Island State Park is the largest island in the Bay, and recommend the 6-mile loop around the island that combines the North Ridge and Sunset Trails. This route is mostly single track, no bikes allowed, so you’ll avoid most of the other visitors who tend to stay on the perimeter road. This hike will take you to the top of Mt. Livermore, the highest point of the island at 788 ft, and back down to Ayala Cove.

Once you exit the ferry, you’ll stay left and look for the sign marking the North Ridge Trail. Follow the signage up some stairs and across the perimeter road for the official start of the North Ridge Trail.

As you near the summit, there’s a sign for a spur that leads to Mt. Livermore. This final section is not long and there are a number of picnic tables at the summit that provide the perfect spot for you to enjoy your lunch and take in the views of the Alcatraz, The San Francisco skyline, the Bay Bridge, and the Golden Gate.

Once you’re ready to return, retrace your path and find the Sunset Trail to your right. Follow it all the way back down to the docks at Ayala Cove. Reward yourself on the ferry ride back with a cold beverage of your choosing.

Ferry times vary on the time of year. For a schedule and to buy tickets, click here.

Photo: Aram Kudurshian

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes and daypack
  • Food and drinks
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 6 Miles
Elevation Gain 1427 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Picnic Area
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Top of Angel Island

This is a great way to stretch your legs and get a little exercise on angel island. With that said, you want to keep an eye on the weather. The day I hiked up Livermore, it was pretty foggy, so the views toward San Francisco and the Golden Gate weren't visible. I'm sure on the right day at the right time, it's unbeatable.

You Can Also Get A Ferry Ride From Tiburon

I have hiked this trail many times over the last 15 years. It is an easy to moderate climb with light duty hiking shoes. The view from the top is spectacular on a clear day. Once you have been to Angel Island one time, you will want to come back over and over. It is never crowded and overnight camping fees are very reasonable. Ferry service from Tiburon aboard the Angel Island Ferry is very well priced and has many departure and arrival times to suit any schedule.

You must plan ahead and get on the early ferry to fully take advantage of the Angel Island hiking. Bring food, drinks, and towels along with you. Once the ferry docks, beat the crowds and head straight for the trailhead. Get up to the peak, enjoy the panorama views, then have your pick of beaches or lawns to relax for the remainder of the day. There is a little cafe on the island if food or drink is needed.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Camp on Angel Island

781 Saves

Hiking Through the Marin Headlands

672 Saves

Headlands Ride to Point Bonita Lighthouse

455 Saves