An amazing thing about Angel Island State Park in San Francisco Bay is how few locals visit it. The car-free island’s rich history, hidden south-facing beach, and ridiculously scenic picnic and campsites are just a few reasons to explore here. It also happens to be the best place for unparalleled vistas of icons on the Bay. Experience Angel Island in a nutshell on a 8-mile bike and hike adventure starting from Ayala Cove, where regular ferries from San Francisco and Tiburon dock (ferries accommodate bikes and you can also rent your wheels on the island, see italics). From the cove, pedal southwest on Perimeter Road. At about 1.5 miles in, you’ll lose the crowds just in time to soak in a grand scene: San Francisco, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. This is also where you’ll find the unmarked spur trail to off-the-radar Perles Beach. Keep rolling another mile to the Service Road and a fire road, one of multiple hiking routes to Mount Livermore peak. Park your wheels at the bike rack about a quarter mile up the fire road and continue by foot on Ida Trail. It’s steep going for a bit before the trail relaxes into a winding and more gradual ascent with peekaboo views of Ayala Cove. At the peak—788 feet—grab a picnic table and stay awhile; the setting is Baymazing.
Pick up a map when you reach Angel Island. There is a bike rack at the start of the Ida Trail, which is up the fire road from the Service Road. You can hike this entire route too, just allow more time. Get Angel Island ferry information. Bikes are available to rent on the island. No dogs.