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The Gardens of Alcatraz Tour

Pros: A docent-led tour through gardens closed to the general public
Cons: Twice a week only
Best For: A mind-blowingly beautiful walk through 3 centuries of cultivated gardens

Gardens of Alcatraz Tour

Alcatraz is not just for the prison-bound tourist anymore. Lived in San Francisco your whole life and never gone to The Rock? Purchase a ticket for the first ferry leaving Alcatraz Landing, any Wednesday or Sunday morning. Meet your garden docent on the Alcatraz dock and take an inspirational and informative walk. On the agenda: beautiful Officers Row, the 19th century foundations of military houses, where Victorian-style flower beds are flourishing. Visit the Rose Terrace to see the Welsh Rose, thought for many years to be extinct, and talk with master composter, Dick Miner about the process of making all the soil used in this historic garden restoration project.

Thank the Garden Conservancy for funding the garden rehab project, started in 2003. Come in early Spring when the Bearded Iris are in bloom and the island is transformed into a sea bird nesting sanctuary. Playing host to thousands of gulls, cormorants, egrets, and herons, pairs of birds build nests around the perimeter of Alcatraz and hatch their fledgelings. All return to sea by September.

Noteworthy: Wear comfortable shoes for hills and stairs and dress in layers. You will be on an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay, where the wind tends to blow fiercely through the Golden Gate.

Gardens of Alcatraz Tour
Every Wednesday and Sunday
Take the first ferry from Alcatraz Landing
Meet your docent at 9:30am on the Alcatraz dock after arrival on the island
For Ferry Tickets:
Alcatraz Gardens website for history and Information: