• Visitor during the evening tour of Alcatraz gaze into the many cells that line up the corridor known as

    Alcatraz Island


There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Purchase Alcatraz Tickets in Advance

    Tickets for Alcatraz frequently sell out in advance, especially around holidays and weekends. Night tour tickets sell out even sooner, as much as a month or more in advance. Order your tickets up to 90 days in advance to avoid disappointment. More »


Click on any of the following links to learn more about various aspects of Alcatraz's history.
Fortress Alcatraz - 1893

In 1850 Alcatraz was declared a military reservation by President Millard Fillmore, and by 1859 troops were permanently garrisoned at the post on Alcatraces for the defense of the Bay Area. Click here to learn more about the military history of the Rock, from 1850 to 1934.

To learn more about Fort Alcatraz' role during the Civil War, please visit the Civil War at Alcatraz page.

Click here for a brief timeline of the U.S. Army on the Rock.


Alcatraz is most famous for the 29 years it operated as a U.S. penitentiary. This is due in no small part to Hollywood movies which have created their own not particularly accurate Alcatraz, with underground tunnels and haunted dungeons and other flights of fantasy. Here you can learn more about the real Alcatraz.

Alcatraz is Indian Land
In 1964, and again in 1969 American Indians - many whose tribes were being terminated by federal policy, laid claim to Alcatraz Island. Their 18 month occupation would cause a great change in federal policy towards American Indians that would save the tribes. Learn more about the historic occupation by Indians of All Tribes here.

There is a wealth of information about Alcatraz on the World Wide Web. Some of it is quite good, and some of it not so good - many myths and misconceptions exist about Alcatraz and its history. This page includes links to some of the websites we recommend as starting points to research more information about Alcatraz and its history.

Did You Know?

The gardens of Alcatraz.

The abundant plant life found on Alcatraz today is not quite “natural” – originally the island was a barren, wind swept, bird guano covered piece of sandstone rock. Soil and plants were introduced by the U.S. Army as they built the first U.S. fort on the West Coast, beginning in the 1850s.