With 360-degree views and surprisingly few other hikers to share the scenery, Mount Livermore offers a unique vantage point to soak in the natural beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area. Three trails ascend the flanks of Mount Livermore: the North Ridge Trail from the north, the Sunset Trail from the west, and the Ida Trail from the south. While many choose to link the North Ridge and Sunset Trails in a loop leading back to Ayala Cove, choosing instead to descend the Ida Trail offers prolonged views of downtown San Francisco and the ability to explore many of Angel Island's historical sites along the perimeter road.
Getting to the trailhead can often prove the most challenging aspect of the hike. Unless you have a personal boat, it requires planning around either the Blue and Gold Ferry or the Angel Island Tiburon Ferry. No matter which you choose, you will eventually arrive at Ayala Cove, from which the North Ridge and Sunset trails initially ascend the more heavily forested northern slopes of the island. As the trails reach the summit, though, the views open up into an expansive panorama reaching clear around the Bay Area.
Descending along the Ida Trail takes you to the paved perimeter road, which circumnavigates the island and, naturally, leads in both directions back to Ayala Cove (the western route is quicker). Sights of interest along the perimeter road include include Camp Reynolds, Fort McDowell, and the U.S. Immigration Station.