A tradition for over 50 years, throughout the month of December, the “Angel Lights” shine from atop Mount Caroline Livermore (aka Mt. Livermore). Photo Courtesy of Jason Weisberger.
At 788-feet, the highest point on the island was once simply called Mount Angel Island, it then became Mount Ida – the source of the name unknown. Once again re-christened in the 50s, it’s now called Mount Caroline Livermore (aka Mt. Livermore), in honor of Caroline Livermore, the dedicated Marin County conservationist who led the campaign to create Angel Island State Park.
The top of Mt. Livermore was replaced in 2002 and the island is now 16 feet taller than in prior years. The army shaved the peak off for the Nike Missile site in the 1950’s, flattening the top of the island. When funds became available for natural resource improvements, the decision was made to put the top back on the mountain. The dirt was never removed, only bulldozed over the edge, so crews pushed it back up and re-sculpted the island to a close approximation of its original contours. In addition, the road that scarred the face of the mountain in its approach from the west side was removed, and a winding trail created, leading to the top from the east side of the island. Three picnic sites on the original concrete pads are in place. Thousands of native plants, cultivated from Angel Island cuttings, were added as well.
Starting from Ayala Cove, walk up the road to the left of the visitor center. You’ll intersect Perimeter Road and the Sunset trail-head at the top of the hill. Sunset Trail switchbacks up steep, coastal-scrub covered slopes, to the top.