Explore the most popular views 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.

It’s literally nothing but walking in zig zags uphill.

It’s fairly difficult and mostly uphill

walking
26 days ago

Nice easy loop walk. Went for bird watching 2 months ago, but the tide was out and there was nothing to be seen. I was specifically looking for shorebirds, so I was disappointed, but the walk was pleasant. There's a boardwalk along the shore side. Good interpretive signs. Mostly flat ground, muddy in spots as it has rained the prior week. Only saw 3 people and it was on a Saturday. Parking is off the road with no lot and we didn't see a sign very clearly until we got out.

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
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

Hiked from Big Rock trailhead to just past the transmission towers, then back. Great views, good workout, beautiful views. Total hike: 7.2 miles, 1,325 ft of elevation, 2 hr 41 min.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice and easy family hike on Peacock Gap this Memorial Day weekend.
Couldn’t find the turn off of mcnears fire trail onto shoreline trail, so ended up doing and out and back.
Will re do for sure!

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.

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

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!).

walking
4 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.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful, mostly shady trail that has almost no traffic on an early weekday morning, a terrific time to hike. The incline is gentle, even the steeper parts, and the views are lovely. I missed the switchback up to McNears Trail and kept walking on The Shoreline Trail and had to backtrack, so this 3 miler turned into a 6 miler. Lucky me!

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.

Great- good parking. Steep areas and great views. Saw a coyote. Met runners along the way and had a great workout.

mountain biking
6 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.

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

Good out and back hike. Starting at Big Rock the trail is all uphill for 3.5 miles. The elevation change is moderate and provides a good workout but not a difficult one.. Beautiful vistas of Lucas Valley the entire way. Not much shade cover.

Easy. Busy. Views. Informative signs.

mountain biking
9 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.

hiking
Friday, August 18, 2017

It is a very steep incline but the view is very pretty. Very steep probably too difficult to run safely unless you go very slow.

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.

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