CHINA CAMP STATE PARK
Welcome to China Camp State Park! Take a quick tour of the many attractions that can be found here. Use the NEXT and PREVIOUS buttons to see the spectacular natural environment, great hiking and biking opportunities, an accessible nature trail, beautiful picnic spots, and rich history of China Camp.
Back Ranch Meadows Campground has 30 campsites situated among groves of oaks, bay laurels, and madrones. Eight of the campsites are accessible to the disabled, as are campground restrooms. The campground is close to a number of hiking trails, including the Shoreline Trail and the Turtle Back Hill Nature Trail.
Turtle Back Hill is an ecological island with a rich natural history. The Turtle Back Hill Nature Trail forms an easy and accessible loop around the hill, signposted with interpretive panels that tell the story of the salt marshes and the Bay environment. This is a great trail for wildflower enthusiasts and birdwatchers.
China Camp State Park is famous for its Wildflowers, such as the Blue-eyed grass pictured here. California poppies, shooting stars, sun cups, Douglas iris, Indian paintbrush, Indian warriors, star lilies, sticky monkey flower, and buttercups can also be found.
The gobbling of wild turkeys can be heard throughout the forests of China Camp. There is an abundance of Wildlife here, including 26 species of mammals, 140 species of birds, and 15 species of reptiles and amphibians. There are two endangered species, the California clapper rail and the salt marsh harvest mouse.
The Salt Marshes of China Camp are the most pristine remaining wetlands in the entire San Francisco Bay estuary. They provide shelter for fish and wildlife and play an important role in the environmental processes critical to a healthy Bay. They act as a filter for pollutants and absorb excess nutrients that reduce oxygen.
North San Pedro Road runs along the shoreline of China Camp and is a popular ride for road bikers. The grade is gentle, the traffic light, and the views spectacular. After going through the park, the road turns into Point San Pedro Road at the tip of the peninsula, looping back to San Rafael.
China Camp State Park is a major destination for mountain bikers from all over the Bay Area. The 14 miles of trails within the park range in difficulty from easy to challenging, always offering a variety of beautiful scenery along the way. Adjacent open space areas allow for longer rides up and over San Pedro Mountain.
China Camp has 15 miles of hiking trails, including the Turtle Back Hill Nature Trail. The Shoreline Trail extends from the Back Ranch Meadows Campground all the way to China Camp Village and beyond. The Bay View Trail takes in forests and meadows, connecting with trails that go to the top of San Pedro Mountain.
The top of San Pedro Mountain is a strenuous hike, but the payoff is a spectacular 360 degree view that takes in the city of San Rafael, San Pablo Bay, Mount Diablo, and a close-up view of Mount Tamalpais. It also contains the site of an old Nike Missile Station, which is now marked with a picnic table.
China Camp State Park is a great place for a picnic, be it a large gathering or an impromtu barbecue. There a number of scenic picnic sites in the park, with locations in open meadows, grassy lawns, or along the shores of San Pablo Bay. Bring the family for a special treat, or the whole company for a business lunch.
China Camp Village was the site of a Chinese shrimp fishing camp that dates back to the 1870s. It was one of 26 shrimping camps around the Bay that thrived into the early part of the 20th century. During its heyday, there were almost 500 people living at China Camp, with several small streets lined with wooden buildings.
China Camp has a rich and varied history that goes back thousands of years. It has served as Miwok hunting and fishing grounds, a Mexican rancho owned by an Irishman, an American dairy ranch, a Chinese shrimp fishing camp, and a California state park. For more information, see the History of China Camp page.
China Camp celebrates Heritage Day each year in August, with folk music and lion dance performances, acrobats, tai-chi demonstrations, and ranger-led tours. Activities and crafts for children take place, local artists display their work, and the replica Chinese junk Grace Quan is on display in the Bay.
Thank you for taking this tour. Friends of China Camp is now the operator of China Camp State Park, in partnership with California State Parks. Please help us in our efforts to preserve and enhance the visitor experience in this cherished park. Find out what you can do to Support China Camp.