Trip · 3-day backpacking trip
For · Friends and first-time backpackers
Vibe · Moderate and fun
Distance · 10.4 miles with 1,270 feet of elevation gain
Permits · Yep, reserve a Ridge campsite
Drive · 20 minute ferry ride from SF
Ideal dates · April to October
Pets · Not allowed on the island
Spanish explorer Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala named Isla de Los Angeles (Angel Island) in 1775. It has since been a military base, immigration station, and now a state park. Angel Island is the largest natural island in the bay so you'll have sweeping views of the SF skyline. Reserve a campsite early and catch a ferry from SF to camp in one of the most unique places in the Bay Area.
Directions To SF Ferry Terminal
Main image credit: Steven Coffey
Each campsite comes with a:
Angel Island has a total of 16 campsites, and hike-in Ridge campsites have some of the best views. Ridge campsite 4 and 5 are the ones to reserve, but they're fairly exposed to the sun and wind. Ridge sites 5 and 6 are more sheltered from the elements. Camping on Angel Island involves a one or two mile trek from the ferry drop-off area, which makes this a perfect trip for campers who want to try out backpacking. It's about a 40-minute walk from the ferry to Ridge campsites.
Check-in: After 2 PM · Check-out: 12 PM
Nightly Rate: $30
From 1910 - 1940, Angel Island was an immigration station, processing nearly a million immigrants and detaining Chinese immigrants for weeks
2,000 years ago, the Coast Miwok tribe camped on Angel Island and used it as a hunting and fishing site
For a century, the U.S. Army designated Angel Island as a military base. It was decommissioned and turned over to State Parks in 1963.
Don't leave the car without a first aid kit. Stuff happens out in the wild and you always want to be prepared.
They're expensive, but you can lean on these bad boys for river crossings and navigating all kinds of terrain.
Light as a feather and versatile enough to use for running, camping, and other nighttime activities.
It's a heavier, bulkier pillow for ultralight backpackers, but you're guaranteed a good night's sleep.
Add up to 14 degrees of warmth and keep your sleeping bag nice and clean with this mummy liner.
Handmade in Seattle, Washington, this sleeping bag is pricey, but you can count on it lasting for years.
A spacious sleeping bag that will help you stay warm for spring, summer, and fall camping.
Winner of the REI Editor's Choice Award, this bag is warm and light, coming in a little over three pounds.
This pack weighs two pounds, has 7 pockets, and has a built-in seat pad, but it can only carry up to 30 pounds.
If you're an experienced backpacker, this is the lightest full-size, full-featured, frameless pack made.
You won't be saving money, but you'll save space and weight with these camp sandals.
These comfortable, breathable, quick drying undies are designed for surviving long treks.
Made with 60% merino wool, these pricey socks are guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Lightweight, grippy, and breathable shoes made for navigating all kinds of trails and terrain.
These down pants will keep you and your legs warm in the chilliest of nights.
Never dig around your pack to find some hand sanitizer. Instead, hang this one on the outside of your pack.
Whether it's coffee or cocoa, bring a silicone mug like this one into the wild. Your tummy will thank you.
Don't let the backcountry stop you from enjoying a hot, quality drip coffee in the morning.
This lightweight pot is for backpackers who want to enjoy warm and cold soaked meals.
These bamboo utensils are designed for the backcountry, and conveniently comes with a travel pouch.
A popular, pricier backpacking stove that's an ounce heavier, but is reliable in the wildest envrionments.
Add a little magic to your experience by hanging these twinkling lights around your tent every night.
Leave your backpacking pack at camp, and use this sleek, compressible pack for day hikes.
Feel fresh, clean, and renewed after each hike with these thick, durable, aloe-infused wet wipes.
The more you backpack the lighter your shelter becomes, and the lighter it is, the more expensive it can be.
You'll always need to bring your hiking poles to use this tent, but it only weighs a little over two pounds.