Skip to main content

Behind the Scenes Tour

How long does the tour last?

The small group Behind the Scenes tour lasts approximately 2 hours, followed by the Alcatraz Night Tour experience, which lasts 1.5-2.5 hours depending on activities and return boat chosen. The complete experience, therefore, including round trip boat ride, lasts 4-5 hours.

Where does the tour go?

The Alcatraz Island Behind the Scenes tour covers a different route and contains different content than the Alcatraz Cellhouse Audio Tour or regular ranger tours. It explores a variety of “off the beaten path” areas of the Island. 

Destinations may include the New Industries Building, the Officers’ Row Gardens, the upper levels of D Block, the Hospital, A Block, Citadel, and/or the Chapel, Theatre and other areas as they become available. Specific destinations are not guaranteed. 

The tour route may vary each day depending on safety and accessibility concerns, weather, construction, bird habitat, group size, etc.

What is the exact timing of the tour?

Roughly 4 to 5 hours. Please refer to the departure schedule for exact departing and returning times as the ferry runs vary based on the Summer or Winter schedule. Visitors can choose from two (2) Behind the Scenes tours offered each afternoon departing from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. Upon reaching Alcatraz Island, you will be advised of the exact time the two (2) return ferry boats leave Alcatraz Island.

In what languages is the Behind the Scenes tour offered?

The Behind the Scenes portion of the tour is offered in English only. The Cellhouse Audio Tour, which follows the Behind the Scenes tour, is offered in eleven languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, ASL, and an audio described version for people with vision disabilities). The other live programs that are part of the Night Tour are offered in English only.


How many will be in the group?

Group size is limited to 30 participants per group. Actual group size may be smaller.

Can I bring my children?

Yes, as long as they are at least 12 years old and you accompany them. The tour is not appropriate for younger children because of its vigorous pace and lengthy duration.

What accommodations are available for those with mobility disabilities?

The Behind the Scenes tour is a physically strenuous tour that lasts 4 to 5 hours and can include walking through narrow passages or climbing steep staircases in areas not normally open to the public. A small tram with very limited seating (1 wheelchair, approximately 5 passengers maximum) is available at the Alcatraz Dock for those with physical mobility needs. Use of the tram is first-come, first-served. The tram will accompany the 4:50PM tour ONLY, so please purchase tickets for this tour if you know that you will need to use it. The SEAT tram cannot go into the Behind the Scenes tour areas. If you cannot maneuver steep stairways, you will only be able to view these areas virtually, through photographs and videos.

Back to Top Page Top