Off-Road Rides for Every Level at China Camp

Are you looking for an off-road ride the whole family can enjoy? China Camp in San Rafael offers easy, moderate, and advanced riding.


For a family with young or new riders, we suggest the Shoreline Trail. Start at the campground group parking lot just up the road from the kiosk. There is a $3 “trails fee”, or a $5 “trails and parking fee” per vehicle, an exceptional value in our opinion. You can ride a short 4 mile out and back on this trail from Backranch Meadows (around the campgrounds) to Miwok Meadows. Turn back at Miwok Meadows. Click here to see the route map on Strava

If you’re wanting to lengthen the ride and everyone is having a good time, continue on Shoreline Trail to the Visitors Center for a longer ride. Click here to see the longer route map on Strava

Photograph by Friends of China Camp volunteer Harriot Manley


There are multiple entry points along North San Pedro Road near the north end park entrance named  Back Ranch Meadows. Past this entry is ample roadway shoulder parking. Using these various entry points allows you to vary the length of the ride. Some may prefer to drop the family off at one of these entry points and Mom or Dad may continue the drive south to park at a location 3 or more entry/exit points to have the car waiting then road ride back to the family to start your ride. 

The camp requires each rider to purchase of a $3.00 pass that you buy at a kiosk at the Back Ranch Meadows entry. 

Points of Interest:

The views in this 2.4 square mile park along this lower trail are often stunning with those of San Pablo Bay and the salt marshland, meadows, and woodlands along the way.

Marshland and tidal flats where native fowl make their home, provide great viewing along the trail. Egrets and other fowl are usually looking for their next meal in the marshes. Deer can be seen grazing in the meadows or climbing up the hills as you ride along 

Getting there:

From Hwy 101 north of San Rafael, take the North San Pedro Rd exit at 454B to Merrydale Rd. Turn left then left again once you reach North San Pedro Rd, turning left again towards the park. 

Good to know:

Mountain bike and gravel bike-friendly. The preserve is popular with hikers and mountain bike riders, so please practice safe riding and be respectful of others. 

CLICK HERE for the Preserve website and trail map.


All of the great results you read about above are made possible by you, our members. Not a member? Join Marin County Bicycle Coalition today and enable an even better 2021!

Similar Articles

Trail Manners: Slow Down EVEN MORE!

We are often asked by mountain bikers what they can do to increase trail access. The #1 answer? Always slow down when passing others and – most importantly – really slow down! When riding, be an ambassador of our activity and promote our friendly nature.