The Alcatraz Cruises Ferry is the only way to get to the island. It is a private company under contract to the National Park Service. The Hornblower hybrid ferry is a catamaran that operates on solar, wind and diesel power.
When planning your trip, keep in mind that the ferry service can sell out weeks in advance.
1850 – President Millard Fillmore declares Alcatraz a military reservation. Permanent troops begin occupancy in 1859.
1861 – Alcatraz is designated a military prison.
1933 – The army leaves Alcatraz, transferring prisoners to both Fort Leavenworth and Fort Jay, except for thirty-two who were transferred to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
1934 – 1963 – Alcatraz is operated as a prison for kidnappers, racketeers and those guilty of predatory crimes. Robert Kennedy orders the prison closed to to deteriorating structures and the high cost of housing inmates.
1969 – 1971 – the now abandoned Alcatraz Island is occupied by eighty-nine Native Americans, calling themselves Indians of All Tribes. This occupation was forcefully ended by government officials.
1972 – Alcatraz becomes a national recreation area.
1986 – Alcatraz Island is designated a National Historic Landmark.
Alcatraz Island current falls under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Service. There is no charge for admission. Food service is not available.