Explore the most popular nature trips trails near San Rafael with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Not marked at all so make sure you download the map before you start. It’s a rough way up and steep way down. Not a lot of shade at certain points so make sure to wear sun screen. Not sure if we took the right way back, because we went down a thin little valley path to get back

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.

I love this trail

Great hike/workout. I did this hike in early June when the grass was no longer green but some wildflowers were still blooming. The trail is mostly exposed, carry sun protection/hat. It was pretty windy on the day I went so I did not feel the sun as much. It is a fire road all throughout and the gravel can make it slippery, wear good shoes and/or carry hiking sticks. Great views from the top. I was the only person on the trail except for some mountain bikers passing by. Enjoy!

hiking
1 month ago

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

We ended up walking from our hotel in San Rafael and did not arrive to the trailhead until mid morning on an early June day that happened to be very warm. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Despite the heat and full sun it was worth the effort. Hawks and eagles can be seen catching the currents and there were plenary of beautiful vistas. Trail signs are not existent so make sure you study the map before you get started.

Bring water. When hiking between May and September you will be exposed to the full sun from mid morning and late afternoon. Very little tree canopy shade. Great birding area and some wonderful vista views. I would rate it an easy hike, more like a walk.

I bring friends & family members who want to go on a hike but don’t really hike often here...it is a perfect >30minute route. Easy to take with dogs & children. There are hillsides that you can climb up to as well. There is also a wishing tree.

Great views too

hiking
1 month 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.

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

hiking
2 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!).

Essentially, this is a network of coastal foothill paths in an open space reserve. Easy for walking (I guess you could call it "hiking") but I especially like it for its trail running opportunities - if you want to challenge yourself, there are routes with elevation gain to turn to; if not, plenty of flat terrain as well.

You'll get some nice views of the ocean, and you'll get to walk amongst Eucalyptus trees. Marin County ardently fights for its open spaces - this is evident by how "real estate-able" the area appears to be, yet, this open space remains for locals and outsiders (hint: you might stick out like a sore thumb as an outsider, they'll just know! no biggie) to enjoy.

No admission fees. Be ready for friendly dogs and people.

walking
3 months ago

Short easy walk on a single trail with nice views of mountain. Good if you want to avoid bikers. Also good if you just want a loop to walk around and if you like to pretend you are walking around a turtle’s shell:-) Easy parking on a weekend day.

Varied views. Springtime brings flowing waterfalls and wildflowers.

Well maintained. Lots of options. Beautiful. During the week, especially in the AM, nothing can compare (well, almost nothing)...on the week/end, mountain bikers believe they own the trail. Avoid if you can.

Good for dogs!

Beautiful trail for family walks.

mountain biking
5 months ago

A great ride, but it seemed like everybody was going counterclockwise and I went clockwise so I felt like I was swimming upstream.

Nice wide fire roads with great vistas. Great to take dogs or younger kids. Gradual gentle uphill.

The trail is great for a easy accessible day hike. The only downside is the amount of bikers!

Great trail however when I got to midway and tried to catch the fire trail, it was all fenced up so had to hike back same way. Wish the trail was updated.

Easy. Busy. Views. Informative signs.

mountain biking
8 months ago

Hiked counterclockwise. Easy hike but relatively long at 9 miles. I hiked during a weekday in order to avoid the mountain bikers. This trail is well known as a favorite for bikers. Still a nice hike worth returning to for hiking. On the day I hiked the final 1.5 miles of the trail was closed which required a walk along the highway back to the trailhead. Total hiking time: 3 hours.

First, a few things:

1. Moderate? Hm.. no. If you do the full 9.5-10 mile loop, those inclines are no joke. And if you don't know, it's the down hill that kills.

2. Shaded? Some, I'd say only 50% of the trail. Still, don't go in the heat! It'll be rough. I drank over 100oz on the trail, so did my gf.

About the hike:
We hiked this today (late July) it was warm/hot, and I had 25-30lbs in my (inadequate) pack since I'm conditioning for a backpacking trip. We went all the way to the end and came back doing the full loop.

The 2nd part of the loop is not very well maintained, and the trail was even a little hard to keep at times. I took a wrong turn 4-5 times, or thought I went off trail, then realized I was originally on the right one, so went back.

It was tough, maybe it would've been easier with just a light pack and on a cooler day. The views were great though and it's great for conditioning. We only saw two bikers, and two dog walkers. Also two deer, some quail, and a small snake.

hiking
Thursday, July 13, 2017

Super easy for kids, they loved it. We sighted deer while on our walk.

hiking
Thursday, June 01, 2017

Easy loop, good for bored kids. Or to do just a bunch of lazy loops with a pretty view.

hiking
Saturday, May 27, 2017

mountain biking
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Lots of trail closures today so had to spend part of the loop on the main road, but still such a beautiful area and one of my all time favorite spots to ride.

I'd have to do it again for a full review.

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