ElevationAscent: 731' 223 m
Descent: -731' -223 m
High: 444' 135 m
Low: 10' 3 m
GradeAvg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 47% (25°)
Popular rides nearby
Golden Gate to Tennessee Beach Loop
17.9 mi 28.9 km • Point to Point • 2,443 ft Ascent 744.76 m Ascent
Tennessee Valley to Horseshoe Bay
8.6 mi 13.8 km • Point to Point • 1,145 ft Ascent 348.94 m Ascent
Mt. Tam. Express (auto free)
48.9 mi 78.8 km • Point to Point • 4,109 ft Ascent 1252.53 m Ascent
Mount Sutro Loop
3.3 mi 5.3 km • Loop • 1,027 ft Ascent 312.89 m Ascent
Oakland Crest Sidewinder (auto-free)
27.7 mi 44.6 km • Point to Point • 2,743 ft Ascent 836.08 m Ascent
Joaquin Down, Up, and Out (auto free)
19.2 mi 30.8 km • Point to Point • 2,152 ft Ascent 655.82 m Ascent
“Million-dollar views for less than twenty bucks.”— Bob Gardner
Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown
Family Friendly A fun place to explore with shorter rides possible.
The only way to get around Angel Island, other than organized tours, is on foot or by bike. Bicycles are only allowed on the paved Perimeter Road or on the dirt Fire Road Loop that encircles the island a few hundred feet above the paved road. Only State Park vehicles and tour trams use the paved road.
Most bicyclists stay on the Perimeter Road doing a single loop around the island, while fewer venture up onto the Fire Road Loop. This ride completes a loop on both trails and includes an optional hike to the summit.
Need to Know
Avoid busy summer weekends and foggy days if possible. Best times are during fall and spring or warm spells during the winter.
This ride follows the Perimeter Road counter-clockwise since this is the shortest way to views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. It's not flat. It climbs gradually circling the cove with eventual views over Ayala Cove and across to Point Tiburon. As it turns south, you reach an old dilapidated building that was part of the Civil War-era, Camp Reynolds. The side trail leads down to the parade grounds and garrison. Near the brick building at the end of the parade grounds is a small beach (with a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge), a picnic table, and restrooms.
A little further on the Perimeter Road is the first expansive view west to the Golden Gate, Alcatraz Island to the south, and the city beyond. Views abound along the southern stretch of the road as it follows the island contours above the steep shoreline. There's a steep downhill near an old Nike Missile site where a sign says bikes must be walked.
As the road turns north along the eastern shore you encounter another mostly abandoned military installation called Fort McDowell. Another side trail leads to Quarry Beach.
Next stop is the old Immigration Station. Just before reaching the station, the Fire Road Loop starts between two whitewashed buildings - a park maintenance building and a fire station. Follow this road as it climbs steadily to the loop section. This ride follows the loop counter-clockwise. As it circles the north side, the trail is mostly shaded in oak woodland which opens up to shrub and chaparral on the west and south sides. There are views all around from a higher perspective.
About three-quarters of the way around near the southeast corner of the island is the Ida Trailhead for an optional hike to the summit. A bike rack is available for locking bikes. The Ida Trail is the most direct and probably steepest of the summit hiking trails. It's only 3/4-mile and partly paved as it climbs 400-ft. The summit affords a 360-degree view of the entire bay.
After completing the Fire Road Loop, it's about a mile on the Perimeter Road back to Ayala Cove.
History & Background
Land Manager: California State Parks - Angel Island State Park