Angel Island can charm the socks off a day-hiker, but it's even better by night, when the state park closes up shop and sends the tour... more »ists home.
After that, campers lucky enough to reserve one of the island's 11 sites have the place to themselves. Urban attractions ringing San Francisco Bay light up as the night darkens, creating shimmering opportunities for photographers who know their way around a time exposure. Campers are free to roam to the top of Mount Livermore or just enjoy the view from their sites.
There's no more than 2.5 miles of hiking and 300 feet of elevation gain, so it's an easy outing by backpacking standards. Campers often bring wheeled carts brimming with luxuries unheard of on deep backcountry trips.
Best time to go: September and October are optimal: the warmest, sunniest times of year on the Bay. April and May bring spring wildflowers but campsites are much more difficult to reserve. Summer months are foggy, though fog often burns off. November-February are rainiest.
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