View of salt marsh through oak trees from Turtle Back Trail by Harriot Manley

Park Rules & Regulations

Stay safe and protect the park and its resources


Call 911 for medical or law enforcement emergencies. Identify your location within the park as precisely as possible, using a GPS locator if available. Be sure to tell the dispatcher that you are in China Camp State Park. For trail and facility locations, see our park map.


  • 8 a.m. to sunset, year-round. (There is no overnight parking along N. San Pedro Rd.)
  • Trails and day-use areas are open 8 a.m. to sunset unless permitted activities or events are scheduled.


  • Designated day-use areas: $5 per car
  • Bus parking: $20 per small bus (up to 24 passengers); $40 per large bus (25 passengers or more)


  • $3 per person day-use trail fee is required. Purchase day passes at electronic pay stations or Iron Rangers (cash only) throughout the park. Annual Passes can be purchased at electronic pay stations, or online here.
  • Turtle Back Nature Trail, a designated ADA-accessible trail, is restricted to foot and wheelchair access only. No bikes or horses allowed.


  • Walk-in tent-only camping is allowed at Back Ranch Meadows Campground. Reservations can be made on No other camping is allowed in the park.
  • Campers may stay no more than 7 consecutive days in the campground, and no more than 30 total nights in a calendar year.
  • Check-in: 2 p.m. or later
  • Check-out: no later than 12 p.m.
  • Entrance gate: open for motorized vehicles from 8 a.m. to sunset daily. (During park hours, hikers and bicyclists can walk around the gate if closed.)
  • Campfires: allowed year-round, but only in designated fire rings located at each campsite. Firewood is usually available from camp hosts; ask for sale hours when you check in. Propane or charcoal self-contained stoves are allowed at campsites. Note that no campfires or stoves are allowed during designated Red Flag Warnings.
  • Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.


  • Two small-group day-use areas (Buckeye and Weber Points) can be reserved in advance. Each site has restrooms, parking, charcoal grills, and picnic tables. Reservations are available via Reserve California or by calling 800.444.7275. Daily use fee is $75.
  • Four large group day-use areas (Miwok Meadows Picnic Area, China Camp Point, and China Camp Village) can be reserved for events and ceremonies. For questions and to make reservations, contact us.
  • All commercial and large-group activities require a permit from Friends of China Camp. Large non-commercial activities such as running and bike races require permits. For more information, contact us.


  • All commercial filming and photography must be arranged in advance through California State Parks.
  • For details, contact David Kopler at 415.898.4362, or email For additional information, see details on the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau website.


  • To protect wildlife and other park resources, and to ensure the safety of all park users, dogs and other pets are prohibited on trails and wherever posted. (Service dogs for permanently disabled park visitors are allowed.)
  • Dogs and other pets are allowed on leash at China Camp Village and all developed scenic points (Buckeye, Weber, and Bullhead Flat). Pets must be on a non-retractable leash measuring 6 feet or less at all times. Well-behaved dogs may be off-leash in the water only at China Camp Beach. Pets on leash are also allowed along paved park roads, and in Back Ranch Meadows campground when owners are present.
  • Pets may be off-leash inside a vehicle or tent. Pets may never to be left unattended.
  • All pet wastes must be picked up and properly disposed of in a trash receptacle.


  • Natural scenery, plants, and animal life are principal attractions of the park. They are integral parts of the ecosystem and natural community. As such, they are protected by Federal, State, and park laws. Disturbance or destruction of these resources is strictly forbidden.
  • Dead and downed wood cannot be taken from the park. It cannot be used for firewood or other purposes.
  • No plant material can be collected or removed from the park.
  • Visitors are not allowed in areas closed for public safety, plant rehabilitation, or other purposes.
  • No person shall remove, injure, disfigure, deface, or destroy any object of archaeological or historical interest.


  • Disposed of all garbage, including food wrappers, cigarette butts, bottles and bottle caps, in designated trash bins. Separate recycling bins are also provided; please sort and discard recyclables appropriately.
  • Dumping of household wastes, including clothing, furniture, tires, and other garbage is strictly forbidden.


  • As of January 2020, smoking is not allowed anywhere in the park at any time.


  • Speed limits: 5 mph on curves and when passing hikers and equestrians; 15 mph on straightaways and downhills.
  • Class I electric bikes (e-bikes) are allowed on all trails that bicycles are allowed. Class II or III e-bikes and other motorized bikes are not allowed on trails at any time.
  • Bike riding is not allowed on Turtle Back Nature Trail.
  • No biking is allowed on illegal social trails. Riding on non-designated trails is illegal, destructive, and prohibited by law.


A number of unauthorized social trails have been illegally created at China Camp. Though these trails may show up on online forums or websites, they should be avoided at all times.

Illegal trails can seriously degrade habitat, impact wildlife, and cause serious erosion. They can also be dangerous and may cause serious injuries to hikers and bikers.


All wetland and tidal marshland areas in and around China Camp are off limits. These sensitive habitats can be severely damaged by illegal hikers, off-leash pets, and mountain bikers. Stay out of these areas at all times.


  • Horseback riders should be aware that China Camp’s trails are multi-use, and are heavily used by hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. Though horses generally have right of way, riders should proceed with caution, especially around blind curves.
  • Horses are not permitted on Turtle Back Nature Trail.


Boating laws in navigable waterways adjacent to China Camp State Park are enforced by:

The following rules apply:

California State Parks does not allow mooring overnight at the dock at the China Camp Village.

Unimproved small vessel launching is available at Bullhead Flat and the China Camp Village lower lot during park hours (8 a.m. to sunset daily).

Access is highly tide-dependent. Launching or beaching at undesignated sites or at night is not permitted.

Safety is very important when swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, windsurfing, or boating at China Camp State Park. There are NO Lifeguards. Life-vests are highly recommended. Tides in combination with winds can move very quickly at the park which may create very unsafe conditions. More information is available at CA State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.



  • Hunting, trapping and the use of any firearm or other weapon are prohibited in China Camp State Park.
  • Possession of loaded firearms, pellet rifles, Airsoft guns, paintball guns, crossbows, slingshots, or any other weapon capable of harming a human or animal is prohibited.
  • During duck-hunting season, licensed hunters may use duck blinds located at the edge of tidal marshlands fronting China Camp. (Foot traffic through sensitive marshlands is prohibited; boat access only.) Additional information is available from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


  • The possession or use of fireworks is prohibited in Marin County. This includes all of China Camp State Park.


  • Drones or other unmanned aircraft are prohibited throughout the park, as well as anywhere over adjacent sensitive tidal marshlands and waterways.


  • Loud disturbing noise is prohibited at all times in the park. Campground quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.
Photo: Harriot Manley