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Hike: China Camp State Park

An Easy Loop through Historic China Camp

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Historic China Camp State Park is located very near Sausalito, and has long been a favorite of outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for a lengthy but relatively mild stroll by the waters of the San Francisco Bay. This combination historic site and State Park is an impressively well kept example of the State Parks and offers a variety of sights from wildflowers and local native birds to the occasional animal and wildlife sighting.

China Camp State Park is a commemorative and historical site that is on the grounds of what once was one of the largest Chinese American fishing and shrimping operations in the Bay Area. During its boom period in the 1880’s,China Camp was home to more than 500 Chinese Americans and housed a full community to support them. A part of the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, China Camp is now a favorite with hikers, runners, campers, mountain bikers, and birding enthusiasts.

Throughout this hike, depending on the season, you should hear and see a variety of coastal birds. This hike is particularly popular with birders for this reason.

Note: this park is very popular with mountain bikes and does allow for both hikers and bicycles on even the single track trails throughout the park. Be a bit careful in sections of the trail that you are aware of the potential for bicyclists around corners.

Hiking China Camp

The hike detailed here is a slightly longer hike at just over 7 miles, but is not terribly strenuous with about 600-700 feet of elevation gain throughout. The hike will take you out along the edge of the bay and through a wonderful sampling of marshland plants and bay and oak groves.

Begin your hike at the campground parking area and turn right onto Shoreline Trail, where you will remain for more than 3 miles winding along until the next junction. Continuing through mostly level trail conditions, the trail will eventually come to an unsigned junction at Peacock Gap Trail where you will turn right. Follow Peacock Gap Trail until a junction with Oak Ridge Trail where you will turn right again.

Following Oak Ridge Trail’s course along the ridgeline will bring you through thickets of Manzanita and the now commonplace oaks before bringing you to another junction, this time with Back Ranch Fire Road. Turn right here as well, and complete the loop back at the parking area for the campground.

Although not very strenuous, aside from the distance itself, this hike is a pleasant stroll with the potential for quite a bit in the way of wildflower, wildlife, insects, and birds for those interested and has long been a favorite North Bay hike for many hikers.

Getting to China Camp from Sausalito

To get to China Camp State Park from downtown Sausalito, simply head north on Highway 101 and exit at North San Pedro Rd. Follow North San Pedro rd for approximately 3 miles and turn directly into the campground and State Park parking lot on your right.

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Photos copyright by Jay Graham Photographer