I’ve come to love China Camp State Park for its sounds and sense of peace.
- The rustle of beach-pebbles pushed gently by the waves of the San Francisco Bay.
- Footsteps on the boardwalk between the park museum and the brick oven (where shrimp were dried).
- The peace calms me even in anticipation of arrivng and in memory after leaving as the traffic on Hwy 101 tries to conquer all.
- The noise and bustle of the area’s past can safely be imagined from my historical distance.
China Camp State Park was home to Coast Miwok, then to the mission system, to private land owners/farmers after California became part of the United States and to several small villages of Chinese who fished the bay.
Parts of one village remain from the time when there were no bridges to Marin County. And before the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and increased fishing restrictions forced most Chinese to leave.
I can ponder their once productive lives, while looking across a quiet bay at the mountains in the distance.
Turtle Back Hill
We actually started our time at China Camp State Park with an easy walk around Turtle Back Hill. Tidal marshes surround the hill. We started on the low south-side access to the loop trail and it was a little soggy in spots.
After crossing a boardwalk, the dirt trail meandered uphill through oaks and manzanita. The mushrooms seemed to be happy with the recent rains and the shelter of the woods. A woodpecker hammered above us.
On our way back north from China Camp Village we stopped at Bullhead Flat. Depending on the wind direction this could be a grand spot for picnic.
We’re committed to seeing the park in all seasons. Let’s see…that’s October and December, so far.
Very happy the park was not closed last year due to California’s budget deficit.
Click China Camp map for all the walking/hiking trails at this 1600 acres park on San Pedro Rd east of from Hwy 101 in Marin County.
For our previous walk, click on Walking at China Camp State Park.
See you on the Trail!
Words by Lynn Millar and photos by Mike Millar