Hike: China Camp State Park (Marin)
Distance: ~ 8.0 miles (there is a shorter 6.6 mile option, check with me on this)
Elevation Gain: 1000' Moderate
Est. Time: 5 hours
Parking: $5.00 parking passes are purchased from a machine. It takes cash but does not give change. However, credit cards are accepted.
The park was defunded by the state in 2012 and only remains open thanks to visitor fees, donations from the community and the work of volunteers from the Friends of China Camp.
Restrooms are available at the trailhead and at several points along the hike (see park map).
Dogs are not allowed on the trails.
Nestled along the shore of the San Pablo Bay, China Camp State Park offers magnificent panoramic views of the waterfront and miles of multi-use trails. Features include an extensive intertidal salt marsh, meadow, and oak habitats. There is a variety of wildlife, including deer, squirrels, coyote, fox, bats and numerous birds.
A Chinese shrimp-fishing village thrived on this site in the 1880s. Nearly 500 people, originally from Canton, China, lived in the village. In its heyday, there were three general stores, a marine supply store and a barber shop. The museum at China Camp Village helps tell the story of these hardy shrimp fishermen.(From Friends of China Camp)
I have arranged a short docent-led tour of China Camp Village at 10:15 AM, just before the start of the hike.
The hike heads west from the parking area on the Shoreline Trail. In 0.7 mile pass the Ranger station and head uphill on the Peacock Gap Trail for a short distance before branching off on the Oak Ridge Trail. The Oak Ridge Trail climbs steadily then levels off before ending at the Bay View Trail. (An optional 0.5 mile side trip on the McNears Fire Road takes us to a scenic lookout with a spectacular 360 degree view.) We follow the Bay View Trail to its junction with the Back Ranch Fire Trail which takes us down to our lunch spot at the Back Ranch Meadows Campground. Here there are restrooms, running water and picnic tables. This is approximately the halfway point. From here it is 4.0 miles back to the parking area along the Shoreline Trail.
A brochure with map of China Camp State Park may be downloaded athttp://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/466/files/ChinaCampSPWebLayout2015.pdf
What to Bring:
Start your day with a hearty breakfast. The trails are mostly shaded with a bit of sun exposure, but it is always good to pack sunblock and a hat. Water is available at a couple of places along the hike but it would be prudent to carry a quart or two especially if it is a warm day. Proximity to the bay means it can get breezy in the afternoon so a windbreaker is a good idea. Bring snacks and a lunch.
From 101 north in San Rafael take exit 454, North San Pedro Road. Follow San Pedro Road East about 5 miles to the China Camp Point parking area on the left.
Google Earth coordinates: 38º 00' 7.34" N, 122º 27' 42.84" W
Driving time: ~30 minutes from the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge or from the toll plaza of the Richmond San Rafael Bridge
Carpooling is always a nice idea. Thehttps://www.groupcarpool.com/ site might be worth using. Check back later or contact me for details.
If there's any ambiguity about the weather on the day of the hike, you can check the forecast the morning of the hike. The NWS forecast for China Camp State Park may be found athttps://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-122.48545646667482&lat=38.00090176789115#.W2Pb234nbDY
If it's raining significantly, the hike is off. If the weather is ambiguous, we will send out an email to firstname.lastname@example.org list on the morning of the hike. You can easily join that email list by going to thehttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/mitcnchikers/ web page and clicking on the "Join This Group!" button. After you're on the list, you'll receive emails about each upcoming hike ~1 week in advance. The volume on that list is very low (~2 emails/month), so spam won't be a problem.
Joining any hike is entirely voluntary and participants assume any and all risks associated with the activities. By registering or attending this event, participants agree to the conditions posted HERE