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Natural History Hike

July 15, 2023 @ 8:30 am - 12:30 pm


Twenty-thousand years ago, during the late pleistocene, megafauna like giant bears, saber-tooth cats, massive sloths and monstrous mammoths roamed the forests of China Camp. We can only imagine what one of these animals would have seen as it gazed eastward from a rocky perch on what is now the San Pedro hills. Based on historic documentation, they would not have seen a sparkling bay, but rather a network of rolling valleys and deep river channels that eventually emptied into the ocean, 20 miles west of where the Golden Gate is today. At the time, sea level was much lower than today, as much  ocean water was frozen into ice age glaciers. How and why were there so many drastic changes to the landscape since then? 

During this invigorating hike, naturalist Harold Hirsch will address this question and offer an overview of the geology and biology of China Camp within the broader context of Marin and California’s natural history. The route will have excellent views of the park’s salt marshes, the greater North Bay, and some of the western and northern coastal mountain ranges.  

Bring a full water bottle, snacks, proper hiking shoes, and weather-appropriate clothing.(warm weather, hat and sun screen.)


Date: Saturday, July 15

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Location: Back Ranch Meadows Entrance Kiosk

Difficulty: Moderately difficult, 4 miles. 




Space is limited; reservations required. 

Free (donations appreciated).

Cancellations notified via email.

Questions? Email programs@friendsofchinacamp.org or call (415) 456-0766.


Illustration: Pleistocene Bay Area mammals by Laura Cunningham/ Bay Nature Magazine


July 15, 2023
8:30 am - 12:30 pm