China Camp State Park is in east San Rafael, CA along the shores of San Pablo Bay, at the north end of San Francisco Bay. The park spans 1,514 acres of grass-covered gentle hills and beaches. China Camp offers many opportunities for hiking, camping, mountain biking, picnics, and running. The park is maintained and managed by the friends of China Camp, which also provides an informative website.
How to Reach China Camp
China Camp State Park is about 6 miles from downtown San Rafael:
- Take 3rd Street west from downtown. This street becomes Point San Pedro Rd.
- Stay on Point San Pedro Road until you see signs for China Camp.
From the Marin Civic center in north San Rafael, about 3.5 miles:
- Take the exit from Highway 101 to the Marin Civic Center.
- Proceed west. You will be on North San Pedro Road.
- Continue till you reach the park.
There are five parking areas (marked P in the map below) that provide access to trails, beaches, picnic areas, and a campground.
China Camp Trails
China Camp has an excellent network of trails visited by people from all over the Bay Area. Here are a few of the trails, including length and skill level:
- China Camp State Park Loop: 8.9 Miles – Difficulty: Moderate – Est. Time: 4 h
- Miwok Meadows Trail: 2.3 Miles – Difficulty: Easy – Est. Time: 1 h
- Bay View Trail: 4 Miles – Difficulty: Moderate – Est. Time: 2 h
- Back Ranch Meadows: 1.8 Miles – Difficulty: Easy – Est. Time: 45 mins
- Oak Ridge Trail: 5.9 Miles – Difficulty: Easy – Est. Time: 2 h, 45 mins
Beautiful Places to Live Near China Camp
Madeline Schaider Real Estate can introduce you to these neighborhoods in bayside San Rafael:
- Peacock Gap is an elegant neighborhood adjacent to China Camp State Park with elegant homes on large lots and a large complex of townhomes centered on a private park. See details and homes for sale on our Peacock Gap neighborhood page.
- Glenwood is in a valley to the east of China Camp with many comfortable family homes. See details and homes for sale on our Glenwood neighborhood page.
Scenery and Views
China Camp features peaceful bay-views, dense woods, beaches, and 100 acres of coastal wetlands. Hike long winding, single track trails (e.g., Bay View Trail), and you’ll find panoramic views of Mount Tamalpais and the Bay. To the west are rolling hills highlighted by Coast Live Oak trees, Redwoods, Madrone , Toyon, Manzanita, Eelgrass, and Rockrose.
Beaches and Picnic Areas
Sandy bayside beaches and picnic areas are accessible from the road and parking areas.
Overnight Camping at China Camp
The park has 33 tent-only camp sites (walk-in or bike-in) that are available by reservation for $35/night.
History of China Camp
This park has a rich history dating back hundreds of years. Before European settlement, Coastal Miwoks inhabited the lands. The Miwok population declined when Mission San Francisco de Assisi was established in San Francisco. Chinese laborers, imported to work the goldmines for building the transcontinental railroad, established shrimp fisheries on the bay front lands owned by the McNear family. The fisherman set up living quarters and docks which can be seen today. In the late 1880s, China Camp had thousands of residents and hauled in around 3 million tons of shrimp per year, mostly exported to China.