Tune up for your next Camino! This gorgeous hike in Samuel P. Taylor State Park, that often-bypassed park off Sir France Drake Boulevard on the way to Point Reyes, features a long gradual climb through laurels and redwoods to Barnabe Peak, where we will have magnificent views north to Tomales Bay and south to Mt. Tam. In the shade almost the whole way, it’s a great hike in the summer, and it’s very serene — much less crowded than the trails on Mt. Tam or Point Reyes. It’s reasonably strenuous — approximately 9 miles and 1900 feet of elevation gain — but the climb is very gradual along a series of switchbacks, and the only more challenging section is the half-mile just prior to the summit.
We start the hike at the Taylor Camp/Azalea Picnic Area and on to the North Creek Trail. We then cross Sir Francis Drake Blvd and walk through the Madrone Group Camp sites. At the next junction we will turn left onto the Gravestone Trail. Next, we turn right on Bill’s Trail following many switchbacks and climbing steadily up to the junction of the Barnabe Trail. From here we turn left and continue up a steeper trail section to Barnabe Peak where we will break for lunch and magnificent 360° views. After lunch we will continue, more steeply now, down the Barnabe Trail, which we will follow to the Cross Marin Trail and back to our starting point.
Schedule: Meet at 9:30 AM at the end of the Taylor Camp/Azalea Picnic Area parking lot by the bathrooms. Return to parking lot 3:30 – 4:00 PM.
Level of Difficulty: Moderately difficult. Total distance is about 9 miles with an elevation gain of about 1900 feet, but most of the climb is along gentle switchbacks. Nevertheless, it’s important that you be able to keep up with the group.
Advance online registration is required. Click the Register Now button below to sign up. Because space is limited, we ask that you register if/when you are certain you can attend. Thank you!
Cancellation: Please email us at email@example.com so we can offer your space to someone else.
From the East Bay:
- Take the Richmond Bridge. Stay on 580 after the bridge and merge onto US-101 N.
- Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 452 toward Central San Rafael.
- Use the left 2 lanes to turn left onto 3rd St.
- Continue onto Second St.
- Continue onto 4th St.
- Continue onto Red Hill Ave.
- Use the right 2 lanes to turn right toward Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
- Merge onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
- Continue on Sir Francis Drake Blvd approximately 14 miles.
From SF and points south in Marin: Take 101 North until you hit Exit 452 to central San Rafael. Then same as above.
From the North Bay: Directions will depend on where exactly you’re coming from, but if from Petaluma or to the north, the Pt. Reyes – Petaluma Road will lead you over to Sir Frances Drake.
Notes: Park entrance sign reads, “Camp Taylor.” Entrance will be on your left on Sir Frances Drake. Parking is $8.00 or use a state parks parking pass, available for borrowing at most public libraries. Bathrooms in parking lot and at the group camp at the beginning of the hike. Otherwise, lots of woods for bio-breaks.
Carpooling: Registered participants will have access to an online “Carpool Bulletin Board” to post a message if they need a ride or can give one.
What to Bring: A day pack with water, snacks and a bag lunch. Bring sun protection (hat, sunscreen) and a jacket or sweater as it can be cool in the shade. Good hiking shoes are recommended and hiking poles if you use them. Long pants are also advised. The trail itself is free of poison oak, but there’s plenty along the sides, and if you inadvertently step off the trail, you could brush up against it.
Leader: Andy Cohn
The Ruff Stuff: For insurance purposes, we are unable to welcome dogs, except service animals, at our events.