Explore Pa'la bici - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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loved this hike with my family. my 7 year old daughter complained a lot until she saw the water fall and got to swim. she also swam in the lake and that made up for her complaining. it was fun for the family! you can picnic in the lagoons, lots of boaters came in and picnicked on the shore. the water is beautiful and turquoise for a lake. just loved it!

This is a beautiful hike. 85-90% shaded the entire way. My suggestion is to park along Emigrant Trail near the 2nd dam (parking option 3 shown on the map) and take the lake clockwise. You have to walk through some camp areas but it never felt intrusive. Not a ton of signage, but if you are not sure which way to go just take the path that keeps you along the lake.

Had a great hike to the waterfall.

We went on a Saturday (got there at 8am) and found parking pretty easily ($5). Luckily a ranger was there and gave us a map because this trail isn't well marked. You go through a few campgrounds. It was loud most of the trail. We either heard cars or the large amount of people on the lake. We had to move often for other hikers (large groups). The waterfall was VERY crowded. If you are looking for a trail that's peaceful and relaxing this is not the trail for you. It's closer to 10 miles as well. The trail itself is good for all fitness levels I would say.

hiking
26 days ago

I hiked this trail and it is amazing. Definitely not 8.5 miles. I clocked 10.7 miles, so be prepared. Lots of it is shaded. You will see frequent changes in the ecosystem. This is a mountain biking trail and I was the only hikers I came across.

hiking
29 days ago

One of my favorite hikes in the Bay. It has it all, climbs, scenery, two parks, views for days, turkeys, turtles, cows, hawks, a lake...you get it. Go early on a hot day, bring water, layer and be prepared to take lots of pictures.

Even though listed mileage is 7.6 miles our hike once around plus the side route to the waterfall and back was over 9 miles according to my GPS. Nice single path trail with easy footing. Shade most of the way. Restrooms along the way. Dog friendly as they can drink from the lake the whole way. The waterfall is worth seeing.

Gentle, well-shaded hike. I would also suggest entering at the southeast entrance off of Mormon Emigrant Trail and heading to the waterfall and back. This route is much more serene and less congested than doing the full loop; the north and west sides of the lake have many campsites and considerably more people.

This hike around the lake is easily accomplished in around 3-4 hours depending on your pace. I would rate this hike as an easy day trip. You will need water, sun screen, and comfortable shoes. There are restrooms and the trail is close to the lake the duration of the hike.

This hike is full of great scenery. I would suggest hiking the eastern side of the lake starting from the main entrance and turning around from the waterfall, instead of doing the full loop. This side of the lake is less congested, offers the most shade, and you can track a 10 mile hike this way instead of 8 miles.

The waterfall is big and has a swimming hole at the bottom. I found a rope swing along the way and plenty of fishing spots. There are benches to take lunch breaks along the hike and make sure you are cautious for snakes. I almost stepped on one this second time around.

A great hike with plenty of scenic views of the Bay. We saw several animals including deer and some wild turkeys. The difficulty was relatively easy and only got steep at a couple of points.

If you’re going for hiking, we careful of the bikers. Some of the paths get narrow and the bikes can come out for nowhere sometimes. Not too big of a problem, but definitely something to be aware of it you decide to do this hike.

Great hike. We went early in the morning to beat the heat (which I highly recommend). Little shade on this hike but not much tall grass so it was great for my pup. Keep dogs on leash at all times, we had some snake sightings.

beautiful trail with dogwoods for a bunch of different kinds of flowers blooming. It was a Serene Trail all the way to the waterfall. we went late in the day and the temperature was perfect it was mostly shaded

I love this trail

Beautiful views of the lake. The trail was clear and easy. I didn't do the whole 7 miles but enjoyed it.

hiking
2 months ago

Solid hike - most elevation gain at the start but not too tough. A little boring the last few miles - ton of bikers

2 months ago

Dogs not allowed on half of this trail. View is great, trail is nice. But once the trail crosses trail line highway there are signs posted: no dogs allowed.

backpacking
2 months ago

Was difficult as a beginning backpacker but awesome ocean views. Hiked to Wildcat camp. Would be a very nice day hike. Trail was crowded during the mid day with other people going to the falls. Elevation change was tough at times with a pack. Very buggy, got eaten up by bugs on the trail.

Rad trail, plenty of shade, cool waterfall, lots of water access. Serene and quiet.

Very nice hike but very crowded. We went back hiking on the beach to the fall. The climb back to the trail at the fall is a little be tricky.

A few parking spaces right off the road, plus a lot just a couple hundred feet up. $5 fee, bathrooms and trash cans.

hiking
2 months ago

This hike was great. I am completely out of shape (and overweight), but I was able to complete this (nearly 9 mile) hike. We saw so many deer, a few small snakes, a couple coyotes, and an endless number of lizards. Yes there are plenty of mountain bikers, but not really bothersome.

Perfect for an end of the day walk that’s not too difficult. Look out for rattlesnakes and pollen in April and May

One of my all time favorite locations for all types of outdoor recreational activities. This place is loved and very well maintained. I’ve Kayaked, hiked nine miles of trails around the lake, biked, watched Eagles, geese and camped. From the well maintained trails, to restrooms and staff, I’ve always enjoyed this location.

Great walk, only complaint was a lot of mountain bikes to step aside for. Would still recommend.

We camped here last weekend and decided after setting up cap to hike around the lake- FYI this hike is closer to 9 miles. We are both in great shape and It took us a long time, but the trail is flat and every angle of the lake is beautiful. There is a waterfall along the trail that is gorgeous! We will definitely come back in the summer when we can get in the lake.

hiking
3 months ago

For hikers looking for a variety of short out-and-back and longer loop trails, China Camp SP offers a great mix of bayside and woodland habitat to explore.

There are peekaboo views through thick trees down to China Camp and San Pablo Bay from the many miles of the Bayview Trail. But the grandest vistas are to be found at the apex of McNears Fire Road - 360 degree panoramas of the City, all 3 SF Bay bridges, Mt Diablo, Mt Tam, and the North Bay peaks, from a single unbeatable location.

Over 8 years hiking I once spotted a great horned owl on Turtleback Hill, but usually you’ll encounter docile deer foraging next to the trail, occasional turkeys, fence lizards, and all manner of winged insects on windless days. Currently, in early May the trailsides are flush with beautiful iris and monkey flower.

China Camp SP is also a more than solid choice for East Bay folks seeking sun in Marin in Spring, Fall and Winter (though summer rambles can be on the hot side!).

mountain biking
3 months ago

Awesome

trail running
3 months ago

Awesome lake. You can swim in it all of summer. Sometimes there is a waterfall depending on rainfall. Overall great place to trail run, walk, or hike. Good camping too!

This is not a difficult trail it’s about 9 Miles from the campground to complete the loop. Some areas you’ll have to walk on the street others past the campgrounds and picnic areas. The waterfall is gushing this year. If you have 3-4 hours to spare this is a nice hike with great views of the lake.

Beautiful views

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