Sunday, July 17, 2016

From Ayala Cove to the top of Mt. Livermore: Sunset Trail

View of the Golden Gate from Mt. Livermore summit

With an elevation of 788 ft (240 m), Mt. Livermore is anything but a tall mountain. Yet, as Angel Island's tallest peak in the middle of San Fracisco Bay—east of Sausalito and north of Alcatraz— the top of Mt. Livermore offers spectacular views of the central bay, surrounding mountain ranges, the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and the skyline of San Francisco and Oakland.

View points along Sunset Trail
The Sunset Trail begins at its junction with the Perimeter Road near the Visitor Center and Hill Group Picnic Area above Ayala Cove. At first, the trail leads through a hillside forest of non-native eucalyptus tress as well as cypress and pine trees. Once you are arriving at the west-side ridge, the forest opens up. From here, the panoramic view includes Raccoon Strait, Tiburon, Belvedere Island, the Marine Headlands and the Golden Gate. As you continue uphill, more of the skyline of San Francisco will come into view. Once at the summit, your view may start spinning. Relax, take a breath, enjoy and slowly start identifying the places you know or want to go to next.

If your plan is to make the summit trip a loop hike, walk downhill through the chaparral on the east side of Mt. Livermore. The North Ridge Trail will take you back to Ayala Cove. Halfway downhill you will enter a forest of oak, madrone and bay trees—providing some shade, but having enough openings to still get a glimpse of a historic garrison building here or a sailing boat there.

The summit of Mt. Livermore seen from the North Ridge Trail

Angel Island State Park map: scroll down the California State Park hand-out to find an annotated, topographic map of Angel Island showing trails, campsites and points of interest.

References and more to explore
[1] The Outbound Collective: Hike Mt. Livermore [].
[2] BAHIKER: Angel Island State Park, California State Parks, Marin County [].
[3] SOCALHIKER: Angel Island Mt. Livermore Loop [].

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