Monday, November 17, 2014

Angel Island State Park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California - Hiking

I traveled to San Francisco last weekend to meet up with Roger as he was finishing a work trip.  I've spent a lot of time in the Bay Area so I was looking for a new adventure that would allow us to take advantage of the unusually sunny and mild weather for the day on Friday.  We decided to take the ferry out to Angel Island State Park and hike around the island.  The ferry ride took about 15 minutes and we had over four hours to explore the island before the ferry returned to the mainland.

On the ferry departing San Francisco

Angel Island is located in San Francisco Bay and has been used for many purposes over the years.  It has been a military fort, a quarantine station, and immigration station, and a state park since 1955.  The highest point on the island, Mt. Livermore, has an elevation of 788 feet and provides excellent views of the surrounding Bay Area.  Mt. Livermore was our first destination as we climbed off the boat and up through lush eucalyptus forests on the North Ridge Trail.

Angel Island State Park

Angel Island Cove

Hiking to Mt. Livermore

The panoramic views from the summit of Mt. Livermore were great!  We enjoyed several minutes or quiet before the rest of the people from the ferry began to make their way to the summit.  We took the Sunset Trail for our return to the cove, making for a 5 mile loop.  This portion of the hike passed through grassy fields with fewer trees than the North ridge Trail, with nearly continuous views of the surrounding bay.

 San Francisco skyline from the summit

Golden Gate Bridge from the summit

Sunset Trail

At the end of the Sunset Trail

We still had plenty of time before the ferry was scheduled to return to San Francisco, so we decided to walk over to the Immigration Station that began operation in 1910.  Unlike Ellis Island in New york City, this immigration station was a less welcoming place.  Its primary goal was to limit the immigration of Asians to the West Coast under the Chinese Exclusion Law of 1882.  Some immigrants spent months or years at this station waiting for entry into the United States.

Immigration Station on Angel Island

Immigration Station on Angel Island

Roger had to work on Sunday so I spent the day doing an urban hike.  I made a great 14 mile loop from the Financial District up to Haight-Ashbury, through Golden Gate Park, down to China and Baker Beaches for some sunbathing, through the Presidio, and back to the Financial District via Lombard Street.  It was another great weather day and the beach was definitely the place to be!

China Beach

 View from Baker Beach

The Presidio

In addition to the island and urban hiking, I was able to meet up with two friends, Nico and Joe, for some great food and drink over the weekend.  Even though the trip was just a few days long, it was an excellent getaway from Utah with great food, friends, and adventure.