Location: Depart from Tiburon Ferry
Time from Bridge: 20 min GGB + 10 minute ferry ride
Mileage: Virtually any, from 4 miles to 12 – and anything between or beyond
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging, depending on mileage and route
Facilities: Tiburon Ferry dock has restrooms and a surfeit of restaurants nearby.
Angel Island has restrooms, fountains (some even along the outer paved loop), bike rentals, a cafe, and small, often malfunctioning, lockers.
State Parks Website
Angel Island Ferry
Brochure and trail map
Directions (to Tiburon Ferry):
US 101 to Mill Valley / Tiburon Exit. Turn right, following Tiburon Blvd. in to downtown Tiburon. Turn right again on main street. There’s a public pay parking lot on the right – dock is located on the water side (oddly enough….) at 21 Main St.
Where to begin? This might be the ultimate “choose your own adventure” trail run. You can either stay closer to the paved mostly paved “Perimiter” trail, hitting the historic sites of the island, including the canon battery, immigration center and nike missle installation, or stay off-road using some combination of the Sunset, North Ridge, East Bay View trails, and the fire road.
Each has its own appeal – the benefit of a relatively small footprint is that one can see most of the island in a few hours running. Tough it out up to the summit of Mt. Livermore and you’re rewarded with 360 degree panoramic views with almost unlimited visibility.
All unpaved routes are fun for running – that is to say that one can generally enjoy the running without having to worry too much about rocks, roots, etc. The switchbacks on the Sunset trail in/out of Ayala cove are an exception, though still quite tolerable.
A beautiful and varied setting to log some mileage. Major selling points are proximity to the city, views, ability to design routes and mileage to suit and taste, and the opportunity to get a day “away” where runners and non runners can have a great time doing their own thing, then come together to eat and sunbathe in Ayala cove.
The island is often much warmer than San Francisco, though winds from the West often bring the percieved temperature down quickly and dramatically, so layer. Water is available at a few points on the island – Ayala Cove and a few trail junctions have spouts – a benefit of the former military occupation – though bringing a bottle or fuel belt is advisable.
You can either bring a picnic to the island, buy some deli/short-order stuff at the Angel Island Cafe near the ferry landing on the island, or grab something back in Tiburon (San Franciscans seem to have an unnatural affection for Sam’s on the waterfront, as if it were the only sunny place with alcohol on a given weekend day). I prefer to do all three.