May 18, 2009

Samuel Taylor Hike

We went camping over the weekend at Samuel Taylor State Park. It's in the north bay between San Rafael and Olema on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. We did 2 hikes Pioneer Tree Trail and Barnabe Peak.

Barnabe Peak: This is a 7mile moderate hike to Barnabe Peak. Parking is on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. directly across from Devils Gulch Horse Camp. Plenty of parking there for about 15 cars. Cross the road and head up the trail towards Devils Gulch Horse camp. Take the trail that veers to the right towards the creek. You cross a small bridge and turn left. This begins Bills Trail. Bills Trail is a 3.7mile steady climb with lots of turns and switchbacks. Along the way you will see a junction for Stairstep Falls. This is a detour of a little less then a mile. You might as well check it out. What time of year will determine how much water there is. Bills Trail eventually hits Barnabe Fire Road. You turn left and head toward Barnabe Peak. Your shade is now gone as are the lush surroundings of Bills Trail. The climb is also noticeably steeper. A Marin County Fire Lookout sits atop the peak. From the peak you get views over Samuel Taylor, and can see Mt Tam and a glimpse of Point Reyes to the west. You descend back down Barnabe Fire Road the way you came. At a junction you stay towards the right and continue on down Gravesite Fire Road. This will take you back to the small bridge at the start of Bills Trail. Cross the bridge towards Devils Gulch and head back down to your car.

View from Barnabe Peak

Pioneer Tree Trail: This is a 2.7 mile loop with only about 200' of elevation. You park at the far end of the day use picnic area inside Samuel Taylor. Cross the bridge and turn left and you will see the trailhead sign on the right side. This is an easy hike thats it total shade. About half way you will come to the Pioneer Tree itself. At 2.2miles you will come to the Cross Marin Trail bikepath, head to the left which will take you back to where your started. Along this part back you'll be strolling along and looking down on to lagunitas creek.

Along the Pioneer Tree Trail

Related Links
Samuel Taylor State Park Website