MITCNC Hike: Angel Island State Park
Oct 29 - San Francisco
  • Time: 10:20 AM near the dock at Ayala Cove on Angel Island (10 minutes after ferry arrives)
  • Distance: ~ 6 miles loop, with optional 2 mile RT to summit of Mt. Livermore
  • Elevation Gain: up to 1000' to the top of Mt. Livermore, 500' just the loop.
  • Est. Time: 8 hours including ferries
  • Dogs are not allowed on Angel Island

Description (from the park brochure):

Angel Island State Park, the largest natural island in the San Francisco Bay, offers some of the best views of the surrounding Bay Area. With great hiking trails and many other recreational opportunities readily available, Angel Island is truly a hidden gem in the midst of the urban Bay Area.

From 1910 to 1940, the U.S. Immigration Station processed hundreds of thousands of immigrants, the majority from China. During World War II, Japanese, and German POWs were detained at the Station before being sent to facilities farther inland.

The Island has been a cattle ranch and beginning with the Civil War at Camp Reynolds, the Island has over 100 years of military history. With the outbreaks of WWI and WWII thousands of troops both returning and embarking for conflicts around the world were processed through Angel Island. In the '50s and '60s, the Island saw its last military service as a home to a Nike missile base.

A map of the park may be viewed or downloaded from the Angel Island State Park website:

More information is available at;

Hike details:

After disembarking from the ferry at Ayala Cove and making a short stop at the Visitors Center (restrooms available here) we will loop clockwise around the island. The first stop will be the restored Immigration Station. Here you will find the Immigration Museum presenting personal stories, immigration policies, and social issues from both historic and contemporary times. The museum opens at 11 and is free. There is also the Detention Barracks Museum where one can learn more about the history of immigrant detention and exclusion from 1910 to 1940. The entrance fee is $5. More info on the Immigration Station is available at:

Continuing clockwise we arrive at Fort McDowell (East Garrison). There are picnic tables here and this could be our lunch stop. After lunch the road passes by a decommissioned Nike missile site and some abandoned pre-WWI gun batteries set up for the defense of SF Bay. Back at Ayala Cove we will take the Sunset Trail to the summit of Mt. Livermore for 360 degree views of the bay, returning back to Ayala Cove the way we came and catching the return ferry.

What to Bring:

Sunblock and a hat are recommended, along with water, although water is available at several points around the island. Dressing in layers with a windbreaker is a good idea as it can be cold and windy. Have a good breakfast, bring snacks and a lunch.


The meeting point for the hike is near the dock at Ayala Cove on Angel Island at 10:20 AM. This is 10 minutes after the ferry arrives to allow the crowds to dissipate. I will be wearing my MIT hat.

The Golden Gate Ferry is the only commercial transportation from SF to Angel Island. The cost is $14.00 each way, but only $9.00 each way if you use a Clipper Card (highly recommended).

For Clipper Cards, visit their webpage here
or download the app.

Clipper Cards are also available for purchase at the ticket vending machines at the SFFT Terminal located at Gate C. Ticket machines are open 24 hours daily.

You will need to purchase 2 one way tickets. Tickets may be purchased from ticket machines at Gate C of the SF Ferry Terminal. The ferry departs from Gate B. If you have a Clipper Card you can go straight to Gate B.

Masks are no longer required to ride the Golden Gate Ferry, but are strongly recommended. It can get pretty crowded during boarding and on the inside desk.

Here is the ferry schedule:

To Angel Island
depart San Francisco Ferry Building 9:40 AM arrive Ayala Cove 10:10 AM

Return to SF
depart Ayala Cove 4:05 PM arrive Ferry Building 4:35 PM
This is the last departure of the day, so we need to start heading toward the dock by 3:45 PM.
There is an earlier boat departing for SF at 2:10 for those who need to leave sooner.

Remember you need to purchase 2 one-way tickets.

I recommend taking public transit to the ferry terminal in SF (e.g. BART or Muni to Embarcadero station then walk across the street to the Ferry Building). If you choose to drive let me know when you RSVP and I can suggest some reasonably priced parking.

Rain policy:

Rain is unlikely in October you can check the forecast the morning of the hike. The NWS forecast for Angel Island may be found at

If it's raining significantly, the hike is off. If the weather is ambiguous, we will send out an email to all registered hikers on the morning of the hike.

The MIT Club of Northern California and organizers do not assume any responsibility for any personal injuries or property damage suffered during this event. By registering or attending this event, participants agree to the conditions posted at: liability waiver.

Event Disclaimer:
Because this event is in person, you acknowledge the below by coming to this event.

I acknowledge and understand that: (i) I am not required to participate in this event; (ii) my participation is voluntary and at my sole risk; and (iii) I am responsible for my own protection against Covid-19, including, without limitation, following all health and safety protocols communicated to me or posted at the event venue.

MIT Alums:

Please make sure you are a current member of our club before registering. If you are unsure please ask or if you would like to join MIT Club of Northern California, click here.

Event Closed

Date and Time

Saturday, October 29, 2022
10:20 AM - 6:00 PM PT

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Ayala Cove at Angel Island

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Primary Contact

Paul Kuzmenko

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