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Angel Island Perimeter Hike

May 8, 2010 Leave a comment

View of San Francisco from Battery Drew -- by Joe Reifer
View of San Francisco from Battery Drew — by Joe Reifer

This hike circles the perimeter of Angel Island State Park, visiting many historical and natural points of interest, including the Angel Island Immigration Station, abandoned forts and batteries, and coves and beaches. Despite being a popular tourist destination, the trails and paths on Angel Island are usually not overcrowded, as many visitors spend their time on the island picnicking near the ferry cove or taking the tram tours. On clear days, you will have amazing views of San Francisco from the island.

Places visited: Angel Island State Park
Approximate length:
6 miles (see notes for variations)
Hiking time:
4-6 hours
Map:
Angel Island
Terrain:
Mostly flat with a couple of moderate hills; paved and dirt trails
Transit schedule:
Angel Island Tiburon Ferry, Blue & Gold Fleet Angel Island Ferry
Start and end point:
Ayala Cove Ferry Dock, Angel Island

Getting to the start point:

From San Francisco, take the Blue & Gold Fleet Angel Island Ferry from Pier 41 and the Embarcadero to Angel Island. You can take the Muni F-Market to Pier 41 or (my preference) walk from Embarcadero BART/Muni north on the Embarcadero to Pier 41.

From the Peninsula and South Bay, take Caltrain to Millbrae station. Transfer to BART, and take the San Francisco/East Bay train to Embarcadero station. From here, take the Muni F-Market to Pier 41 or (my preference) walk from Embarcadero BART/Muni north on the Embarcadero to Pier 41. Take the Blue & Gold Fleet Angel Island Ferry from Pier 41 and the Embarcadero to Angel Island.

From the East Bay, take BART to Embarcadero station. From here, take the Muni F-Market to Pier 41 or (my preference) walk from Embarcadero BART/Muni north on the Embarcadero to Pier 41. Take the Blue & Gold Fleet Angel Island Ferry from Pier 41 and the Embarcadero to Angel Island.

From the North Bay, take Golden Gate Transit 19 to the Tiburon Ferry Terminal. (Major transfer points for the 19 are Marin City, Strawberry Village, and the Seminary Drive Bus Pad.) Take the Angel Island Tiburon Ferry to Angel Island.

Notes:

  • Note that you will be taking the Angel Island Tiburon Ferry if you are traveling from Marin, and the Blue & Gold Fleet Angel Island Ferry if you are traveling from all other destinations. The Angel Island Tiburon Ferry operates more frequently, but it is inconvenient for car-free travelers coming from destinations other than Marin. If you are coming from San Francisco, it is possible take the Golden Gate Transit 10 or 70/80 and transfer at Marin City to the 19 to get to Angel Island Tiburon Ferry. If you are taking the Angel Island Tiburon Ferry, note that cash and checks only (no credit cards) are accepted; make sure to check the current fares ahead of time and bring enough cash.
  • This route is designed for those who want to avoid crowded trails, by taking the steep stairs to the perimeter road and doing a clockwise loop around the island. Taking the first ferry in the morning is also a great way to avoid the crowds and will allow you to explore the island without feeling rushed to make it back for the last ferry. The Angel Island ferries run on a more limited schedule from November through April; May-October will give you more options for your length of stay on the island.
  • You can vary this route in a few places by taking alternate trails or roads. From the Immigration Station, the East Bay View Trail connects with Fort McDowell; it could be muddy in the winter or after heavy rains. A steeper hike is the loop to Mt. Livermore at the center of the island. Although it would be possible to do this hike in combination with the perimeter loop, I recommend doing these as separate hikes so that you have plenty of time to explore along the way and stop to enjoy the views.
  • This route includes many great locations for lunch with a view. I recommend bringing a bag lunch, but you can also eat at the snack bar near the ferry.

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Tiburon Tour: Ring Mountain and the Tiburon Peninsula

October 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Ring Mountain by Jennifer English

This route takes you through Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve (part of the Marin County Open Space District) and adjacent Tiburon open space for unique views of Angel Island, San Francisco, and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. After a hike up and down Ring Mountain, the route flattens out and travels along the Tiburon bicycle/pedestrian path past Blackie’s Pasture and Richardson Bay Park to its end point at the Tiburon ferry terminal. Along the route, you will also have a chance to sample a couple of the stairways in Tiburon’s city path system.

Places visited: Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve, Tiburon bicycle-pedestrian path, Tiburon town paths
Approximate Length: 6.75 miles (8 miles total with optional side trip)
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours (4-5 hours with optional side trip)
Map: Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve
Terrain: Uphill climb on road and trail to Ring Mountain; flat, paved route along the Tiburon Peninsula.
Transit schedule: Golden Gate Transit Route 10, Blue & Gold Fleet Tiburon ferry
Start point: Golden Gate Transit stop at Strawberry Village (Reed and Belvedere)
End point: Tiburon Ferry Terminal
Getting to the starting point:

  • From San Francisco, take Golden Gate Transit Route 10 bus from Mission Street and 1st Street (stop is right in front of the Walgreens on Mission). You can also pick up Route 10 at different points along its route along Mission, up Van Ness, and west on Lombard to the Golden Gate Bridge. Check the current San Francisco System map to see if there is a stop closer to you. Take the Route 10 bus to its end point at Strawberry Village.
  • FromĀ  the Peninsula and South Bay, take Caltrain to the final San Francisco stop. Walk on 3rd Street towards Market, turn right on Mission, to the Golden Gate Transit stop at Mission and 1st. Or, from BART, take a San Francisco BART train to Montgomery Street station. Exit the station, walk Market Street towards the water/ferry building, turn right on 1st Street, and walk one block to the corner of Mission and 1st. Take the Golden Gate Transit Route 10 bus from here (stop is right in front of the Walgreens on Mission) to its end point at Strawberry Village.
  • From the East Bay, take a San Francisco BART train to Embarcadero station. Walk on Market Street away from the water/ferry building to 1st Street, turn left on 1st Street and walk one block to the corner of Mission and 1st. Take the Golden Gate Transit Route 10 bus from here (the stop is right in front of the Walgreens on Mission) to its end point at Strawberry Village.
  • From the North Bay: Coming from Sausalito and Marin City, take Golden Gate Transit Route 10 north to its end point in Strawberry Village (Reed and Belvedere). From San Rafael and Mill Valley, take Golden Gate Transit Route 17 to the Strawberry Village stop. From downtown Tiburon, take Golden Gate Transit Route 19 to Strawberry Village. From San Anselmo, Ross, Kentfield, and Larkspur, take Golden Gate Transit Route 22 south to Strawberry Village.

Notes:

  • In hot weather, get an early start for this hike. Much of Ring Mountain is open and exposed; the second part of the hike along the Tiburon Peninsula is shadier and cooler.
  • This hike, which starts at a Golden Gate Transit stop and ends at the Tiburon Ferry, allows you to hike one way without back-tracking on the same route. It is also less expensive than taking the Tiburon Ferry in both directions.
  • The start point for this hike is at Strawberry Village, which provides the opportunity for getting food before starting the hike. The options here (casual/to-go restaurants and a Safeway) are less expensive than the tourist-oriented area of Tiburon at the end of the hike. Particularly if you are on a budget, I recommend eating here or taking some food to go for the hike. Other food options (small grocery, deli, etc.) can be found along Tiburon Blvd. after you emerge from the trail and begin walking along street to the end point of the hike. Snacks and beverages are available aboard the ferry.
  • The optional side trip is scenic and not very long, but you head downhill a ways first and then have to climb back up again to fire road. If it is a hot day or you are tired, save this side trip for another day.
  • If you have the time and energy at the end of the hike, you can wander near the ferry and see a number of historical buildings. Download the Tiburon Walking Tour map ahead of time to take on this trip. On the other hand you may just wish to relax at the park near the ferry landing.
  • The Tiburon ferry ride is longer on the weekends than during the weekend commute. Discount coupon booklets cannot be used on the weekend. See the end of the route directions for instructions on getting back to San Francisco, the East Bay, and the Peninsula/South Bay from the ferry.

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