Native Americans

1/26/24 IMPORTANT ALERT: Angel Island State Park is currently under a boil water notice! Visitors should bring bottled water until further notice. There is currently no drinking water for sale, or from any drinking fountain, faucet or sink.

  • The park is open, including restrooms and camping.
  • On-island services (such as cafe, tram and shuttle) are closed for the winter.
  • Immigration Station museums and Visitor Center are open.
  • Campers must boil or treat all water. Thanks for your patience.

The issue is expected to be resolved in 7-10 days.

Ayala Cove, Angel Island
Native American use of the island began some two thousand or more years ago, when people began to populate the San Francisco Bay Area. Coast Miwoks, who lived in what is now Marin County, reached the island with boats made from tule reeds. Some of these boats could carry eight to ten people. Though they tended to become waterlogged after prolonged use, these boats were adequate for short trips because their lightness made them fast and maneuverable. Long poles were used to propel the boats in shallow water; double-ended paddles were used in deep water.

The Miwok people established camps at what we know today as Ayala Cove, Camp Reynolds, Fort McDowell, and the Immigration Station. Using the island as a seasonal hunting ground, they were experts in fishing, hunting deer, seals, sea lions, and sea otter. Several kinds of fish and shellfish were available year-round, and salmon and other highly prized fish were seasonally plentiful. The annual spawning runs were made through Raccoon Strait just offshore from Angel Island. The Miwok people also hunted ducks and other sea fowl, and gathered acorns, buckeyes, and other seed crops, as well certain roots and leaves, in order to round out their varied diet.