Sunday, August 26, 2012

Angel Island

View Angel Island - August 2012 in a larger map

  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Segway Tours
  • Diggler Scooter Tours
  • Tram Tours
  • Quarry Beach
  • 360 degree view of Bay Area – View of Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge and Richmond Bridge
  • United Stated Immigration Station
  • Mt. Livermore (Highest peak in Angel Island)
  • Deer 

More Info
  • Take a ferry from Tiburon or San Francisco to Angel Island. Check out the ferry schedule here 
  • $13.50/adult fee to take the ferry from Tiburon and additional $1 to take the bikes; Only cash or check accepted
  • No online reservations to take the ferry from Tiburon
  • $17/adult fee to take the ferry from San Francisco. Advance online reservation can be made here
  • Bike rentals, Segway rentals and diggler scooter rentals inside the island; Check out the rental rates here 
  • Free map provided in the Angel Island, as soon as one exits the ferry
  • Picnic tables at several places along the bike trail
  • Restrooms at several places in the island
  • One café (Cove café) available in the island, next to Ayala Cove
  • Live music during summer; Check out the schedule here
  • Biking trail is shared with Segways and trams

We have been planning to go to Angel Island for the past several months and finally had the opportunity to tag with friends and visit the Island in late August. At the crack of dawn, bursting with excitement, we started on our drive to Tiburon to take the ferry to the Angel Island.

There is a car parking lot very close to the Tiburon ferry tickets office and parking fee is $16 (cash only) for the entire day. After driving around a little bit, we found another car parking lot, just a block away from Tiburon ferry tickets office, close to CVS pharmacy where the fee is just $5 (cash only) for the whole day. Have the exact change handy.

After parking the car, we literally ran to board the ferry so that we wouldn’t miss the first ferry to the Angel Island. We reached there and then learned that they accept only cash or checks. Luckily I had an unused check in my purse! We were on the dot to board our 10am ferry, the first ferry to the Angel Island.

View of San Francisco from the ferry

We went to the top deck of the ferry to see breathtaking views of the ocean, Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco and within 10min, our ferry was in Ayala Cove dock in the Angel Island. As soon as we stepped out of the ferry, we noticed ushers handing out the island maps to everybody and we picked one.

The 5 mile biking path is on the Perimeter Road, which is paved around the island. The biking trail started on a proper road, then ran on a steep unpaved path for a bit. Before long, we found ourselves peddling hard and huffing and puffing. To my glee, the trail soon became a paved road which alternately ascended and descended.

As we biked on the Perimeter Road, we saw the entrance to the United States Immigration Station. Popularly called the “Ellis Island of the West”, Angel Island was the port of entry for immigrants migrating to the US until 1940. An August 1940 fire, which destroyed the administration building caused the immigration office to be moved to San Francisco. The Angel Island Immigration Center is now open to the public to explore and the entrance fee is $5/adult.

We continued biking and came upon several vista points along the trail that offered sweeping views and we stopped every so often to capture pictures. We also noticed several deer grazing on the mountains next to the biking trail.

Video of a deer grazing:

A detour in the trail led us to the secluded and placid Quarry Beach. At the junction of the Perimeter Road and the trail to Quarry Beach we noticed our voices being echoed. Creepy! The undisturbed Quarry Beach was just beyond beautiful and the unusually sunny and clear day added to its beauty.

Undisturbed Quarry Beach

After spending some time in the Quarry Beach we continued biking until we reached a vista point overlooking Point Blunt to the left, Bay Bridge in the front and Golden Gate Bridge to the right. The shades of water varied from blue-green to green to streaks of green running in the waters. After enjoying our sandwiches and dessert on one of the picnic benches, we continued biking on the Perimeter Road until the loop took us back to the ferry dock in Ayala Cove.
View from a visa point near Point Blunt

View of Tiburon, Belvedere Cove, Belvedere Island, Racoon Strait from another viewpoint

The Ayala Cove seemed to be a popular picnic destination; we noticed several families that had brought tons of food with them and it looks like they were just relaxing in the same place for the entire day. I wouldn’t raise my brows, of course the place was so lively that one could probably sit there the whole day and enjoy BBQ. They also have live music in the afternoons in the Cove Café, which is just next to the Ayala Cove. The spirit of summer was simply lingering in the air.
Ayala Cove

We took the 3.20pm ferry back to Tiburon and called it a day. Known as "Shark" in English, Tiburon has a small yet beautiful downtown which hosts this nautically themed structure.

Nautically themed structure in Downtown Tiburon

  • Bring sufficient cash; you will need it to pay for the ferry and for car parking
  • Have the exact change to pay for parking
  • Bring food with you; the Cove Café is overpriced 

Useful Resources

Nearby Locations

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