News Release

Golden Gate National Recreation Area is restoring recreational access to Alcatraz Island

A park ranger gestures toward a model of Alcatraz while talking to a person

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News Release Date: August 13, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO—Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Golden Gate National Recreation Area is increasing access to Alcatraz Island.

The National Park Service (NPS) is working service wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis. 

Beginning Monday, August 17, Alcatraz Island will restore: 

  • Ferry operations to the island. Ferries, operated under contract by Alcatraz Cruises, will operate with a reduced capacity to support visitor and staff safety and proper social distancing. 

  • Access to the exterior of Cell House, Building 64, Warden's House, Water Tower, Officer's Club and Model Industries Building.  

  • Access to the outdoor areas of the island, including historic Eagle Plaza, Recreation Yard, Sally Port and Rose Garden along the East, West and North Road. 

“The health and safety of our visitors and employees are our highest priority," said Laura E. Joss, General Superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. "We are pleased to begin welcoming back visitors, to provide a great outdoor experience on Alcatraz Island, and to allow our partners and staff to tell the important stories of this unique Bay Area icon.” 

The Alcatraz trail system provides space for safe distancing and allows visitors to explore the island at their own pace. The park is instituting a one-way direction on trails to minimize close contact. Posted signs will describe how visitors can share the trails and enjoy scenic areas safely. 

At Golden Gate National Recreation Area, our operational approach continues to be centered on examining each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public areas and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.  

We ask the public to be our partner in recreating responsibly and to plan their visit in advance to ensure the safety of themselves and park staff.  

  • Purchase ferry tickets and review safety guidelines at

  • Pay attention to signage. 

  • Adhere to CDC and state and local public health guidance by social distancing and wearing a face covering when social distance cannot be maintained. 

With public health in mind, interior portions of buildings on the island will remain closed. Food service will not be offered on the ferry and consumption of food is prohibited on the island. Interpretive tours and ranger talks will resume later. Park rangers will be on duty to welcome visitors, introduce them to new safety features, and help them navigate around the island.  

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on

Last updated: August 13, 2020

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