Photo: John A. Martini
Much of Alcatraz is steep and hilly, so be prepared for walking long distances uphill. The distance from the dock to the prison at the top of the island is about 1/4 mile (.4 km) and the elevation change is 130 feet (40 meters). This is equivalent to climbing a thirteen story building.
Visitors unable to make the climb up Alcatraz's steep road can take advantage of SEAT—Sustainable Easy Access Transport—an electric shuttle that runs twice an hour from the dock to the prison building, and twice an hour from the front of the prison back to the dock. Boarding is available on a first come, first served basis.
SEAT Departure Times
Please check the schedule at the Dock and Cellhouse for exact departure times.
Why can’t SEAT run more often?
The current schedule is a result of the careful consideration of many operational factors. These include the public safety issues of volume and flow of foot traffic on, and preservation of, the historic roadway.
Who can ride SEAT?
Anyone with a health condition or physical disability which limits mobility qualifies for a ride on SEAT. The use of SEAT is limited to those with the physical need only. Family and friends, who are physically able to make the walk, are advised to walk to the designated arrival area to meet SEAT passengers. One personal attendant is permitted for those who physically cannot board/disembark the tram under their own power or cannot be safely left alone. Common examples of those needing an attendant are visitors who are in wheelchairs and the visually impaired. Children of any age, on foot or in strollers, must meet the above qualifications or be under the care of a qualifying parent. Please speak to the driver for further information, or to see if you qualify.
For safety reasons, the tram driver is not permitted to board passengers anywhere along the roadway. Please make your decision to ride while at the designated boarding areas at the dock and Cellhouse levels.
Tips for planning your visit
After arriving on Alcatraz, SEAT is designed to depart the dock approximately fifteen minutes following their National Park Service orientation to Alcatraz. When planning to depart Alcatraz, visitors who have scheduled a specific boat departure from the Island are advised to check the SEAT schedule to ensure proper timing. Please be aware that SEAT departures from the Cellhouse level are not designed to meet any specific boat departures. They are instead designed to run when safest based on visitor flow on the roadway and on the dock. Most passengers riding on the tram from the Cellhouse level will arrive on the dock in time for the boats that depart approximately twenty minutes after Cellhouse departure time.
There are no wheelchairs available for loan either on Alcatraz Island or at the Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing.
Large-print and Braille transcriptions of the Cellhouse Audio Tour and other interpretive materials are available upon request.
The following areas are fully accessible:
- Pier 33 ticketing, waiting and boarding areas
- All Alcatraz Cruises(TM) boats to Alcatraz
- Alcatraz dock area
- Prison building main floor
- All bookstores
- Museum displays
Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33 in San Francisco is fully accessible. There is limited accessible parking at Pier 33, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals need to show their permanent or temporary disabled placard at the entry of Pier 33 to utilize the accessible parking spaces.
In addition, an Accessibility Drop Off zone is available at Alcatraz Landing entrance for visitors with special needs arriving by automobile.
Commercial parking lots near Alcatraz Landing are required by law to provide accessible parking spaces. However, visitors are encouraged to contact the parking lot operators directly to learn about space availability. Go to Parking for more information.
For further information on Alcatraz accessibility, please call the National Park Service at (415) 561-4900.