China Camp State Park offers a wealth of recreational opportunities for the whole family. Come explore the 15 miles of hiking trails, the world famous mountain biking, the great road biking along the shores of San Pablo Bay, and the optimal kayaking in the Bay. The park is ideally located for Bay Area daytrippers, being close to the urban area but still offering a recreational experience that is a world apart.
China Camp has 15 miles of trails, most of which are open to hikers, runners, bikers, and equestrians. The one exception is Turtle Back Nature Trail, which goes through a sensitive ecosystem and is only open to hikers and runners. The trails are well maintained and signposted; they take the visitor through tidal wetlands, forests, meadows, and grasslands. These trails provide popular hikes:
The Turtle Back Hill Nature Trail (.75 miles easy):
Hike along this bay and marsh loop on an accessible signposted trail that makes an easy loop around Turtle Back Hill, jutting out into the salt marsh habitat along San Pablo Bay. Educational signage explains the Bay Ecosystem and Marshland Habitats. This trail meets criteria for wheelchair access under the American with Disabilities Act. It also has tactile features for the visually impaired.
Shoreline/BayView Loop Trail (6.9 miles moderate):
Hike or bike through the forests of China Camp, with views of the bay on both sides of the peninsula. This loop offers moderate and gradual elevation changes, with good wildflower viewing.
Bay View/Bay Hills/ Back Ranch Fire Trail (5.6 miles strenuous):
Hike to the top of San Pedro Mountain for great views in all directions. The trail climbs gradually to the top of the mountain where a scenic overlook provides sweeping views of Marin County, Mount Tamalpais, San Pablo Bay, and Mount Diablo across the Bay.
A map of the trails is available through our online brochure.
Find out about Trail Use Day/Annual Pass Information.
China Camp State Park is a favorite place for bicyclists to ride, and is popular with both mountain bikers and road bikers. With the exception of the Turtle Back Hill Nature Trail, all trails within the park are open to mountain bikers. Trail passes can be purchased in the park; annual passes can be purchased in the park, and are also a membership benefit for joining Friends of China Camp (Learn More). North San Pedro Road crosses the park along the shoreline, making an excellent ride for road bikers.
The Marin County Bicycle Coalition has been a big supporter of Friends of China Camp, and has helped a lot in the effort to keep the park open. Access 4 Bikes is another bicycle group that has been a key ally of China Camp State Park. Friends of China Camp is working to make our state park a friendly and open environment for the entire community to enjoy, to promote a peaceful coexistence between the bikers, hikers, and all others who come here to enjoy the pristine world of China Camp.
As is the case in so many parks in which trails are shared by bikers, hikers, and equestrians, trail etiquette is extremely important.
- Courtesy is contagious. All users of the trails in China Camp, including bicyclists, joggers, walkers, and equestrians, should be respectful of other users regardless of their mode, speed, or level of skill.
- Watch Your Speed, especially around blind curves where you can’t see who might be ahead of you.
- Don’t Block The Trail. Be aware of other users and make room for oncoming traffic. Stay as near to the right side of the trail as is safe, except when passing another user.
- Pass On The Left. Pass others, going your direction, on their left.
- Use a bell or horn before passing, or call out “on your left!”
- Be Respectful Of Private Property. Some trails pass out of the state park and into nearby neighborhoods. Please respect the privacy of our neighbors.
Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Sailing
San Pablo Bay has some of the best kayaking, paddleboarding and sailing in the Bay Area, and China Camp State Park has some of the best scenery to be seen from the water. Glenn Brank of Norcal Yak describes China Camp as “one of the most kayaker-friendly spots on the north end of San Francisco Bay.”
There are launch sites within the park at China Camp Village and Bullhead Flat, both with ample parking, restrooms, and picnic tables. There are changing rooms at China Camp Village.
Bay Area Sea Kayakers (BASK) is a group of kayakers who are big supporters of Friends of China Camp. Members of BASK organize kayaking trips around the Bay, including along the shoreline of China Camp State Park. They make ideal park partners because they have a strong awareness of the environment and the impact that humans have upon it. China Camp State Park is also a designated stop along the San Francisco Bay Water Trail.