Permit - A permit is required for all overnight stays on Angel Island. Permits can be obtained using the state park website at www.reservecalifornia.com.
Transportation/Parking - Your options include private charter, Tiburon Ferry or Blue and Gold. Be sure to check the ferry schedules prior to making your reservation. Ferry service is limited in the off season. For parking in Tiburon see map below map/profile. Parking and Tiburon Ferry are cash only.
Camps/Water - There is a bathroom (pit toilet), trash can, and water at each group of campsites. Once you check-in with ranger after reaching dock there is a bathroom and restaurant (seasonal).
Hazards - Mice, raccoons, Poison Oak, missing your ferry. Nearest Ranger # 415-435-1915 (always check with ranger ahead of time for current water/trail conditions).
Sarah and I have been to Angel Island a few times now, but we decided to head back since we enjoy it so much. For other site descriptions use these links (see trip to Ridge Site #4, Sunrise site #8 in 2010, East Bay site# 2 in 2013 and East Bay site#1 in 2013 ). Sunrise camp does have uninterrupted views, but East Bay site #1 is huge, away from neighbors, and has shade and some shelter from wind. I think all three East Bay sites rock compared to Sunrise on the whole. The Ridge sites are the most exposed, but have the killer views of the San Francisco skyline. Ridge site #4 has the best views but no shade and no shelter should the wind/weather head in. Each group of sites has a water faucet and pit toilet. We used the Tiburon Ferry on this trip. We caught the 1 PM ferry out of Tiburon and it is about a ten minute ride to Angel Island. We parked at one of the lots a couple blocks from the ferry. There is one parking lot at Bank of America that is manned (but usually full unless you get there early). Parking and the ferry are cash only so hit the ATM after parking (there is one near the bathrooms at the ferry dock too) or plan ahead. Here is Sarah when we parked near Town Hall (Lot "A").
Here we are on waiting
for the TIburon Ferry. We had decided that we would need to leave too
early to make the 10 am ferry on this trip (and drive through commute
traffic), so we aimed for the 1 PM ferry (this time of year there is
limited ferry service to the island). We got to Tiburon early enough
that we had time to have lunch at New Morning Cafe. I had Chilequilles,
very good dish they make. Food and service were great. We also went
through the ice cream/candy store. The other food option I have used
is Angel Island
Cafe, which is on Angel Island. Be sure to check ahead of time if
you decide to count on them being open for a meal. They have limited
hours in the off season. The
Cafe was open when we were there.
We watched a few
people come and go at the dock waiting for the ferry (there were some
people that figured out unless you were camping on the island it did
not make a lot of sense to take the last ferry over there). There were
a few people that decided to pay only $5 to take a ride there and back
(not allowed to get off the boat). I guess that is a way for the ferry
service to make a few bucks, since they have to take the ship over there
anyway. It is a quick 10 minute trip across Raccoon Straight. Once you
get off the ferry and head up
the walkway a ranger will be waiting to direct you to the kiosk to check-in.
The ranger will go over the rules. All the rangers I have encountered
out here are great so if you have a question or looking for a tip go
ahead and ask. Once the last ferry leaves for the day it is just you
and the rangers.
So Sarah wanted to go a more
direct route to camp today. It sounded like a good idea with the weather
forecast threatening rain by the afternoon. We
headed past the bathrooms, past the service dock and to the stairs.
Here is Sarah as we headed up the trail toward the stairs. Sarah counted
155 stairs to the Perimeter Road.
There are some nice view of Tiburon and out to the Richmond bridge along this section of the Perimeter Road. Keep an ear out for traffic (construction as they are constantly restoring buildings out here). They also use this road to get around the island when there are driving tours. The road has a few slight uphill/downhill parts. However, if you look at the profile you can see that the elevation gain/lost is all very minor. Before you know it you will be at the Immigration Station. You would take a left down to it just past the signs. If you have not checked it out before (or even if you have) it is worth the walk down there. There is "beach" access (no sand and small) and a bathroom with running water. Continue on the Perimeter road to get to camp.
Here is one of the views
from this campsite toward the northeast.
We didn't make it all the way to the top, we did make it high enough to see all the sights though before turning back to camp, and our warm tent.
We made it safely back to
camp and were able to get in the tent before the rain started again.
It was a nice peaceful rain that made falling asleep easy that night.
The next morning was wet, with it being too wet to leave the camera
out for pictures. We utilized our tarp setup to pack up out of the rain.
We hiked out the quick route utilizing the Fire Road to North Ridge
Trail to stairs to dock. See map/profile. I enjoy
the Northridge Trail as it is an actual trail ,not a road. We made the
10 am ferry back to Tiburon. It seemed like most of the backpackers
on this island were on that first ferry (likely because of the wet weather).
It was another great trip, even with the damp conditions. I will leave
you with "Spooky Sarah" on our night hike. Make sure you make
it out to this historical island (even if it is only a day trip).
Profile on the from camp
to cove... well technically this profile shows from cove to camp (I
reversed it somehow and couldn't switch it back). Click on profile to
see full size.