Map 21 — Northern San Rafael Shoreline

Bay Trail map 21

Northern & Central San Rafael 

While most people wouldn’t expect to find great wildlife viewing and spectacular trails at a sewage treatment plant, that is precisely what you’ll find at the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District.

Located at the end of Smith Ranch Road, these 3.5 miles of trails are home to more than 185 bird species throughout the year.

McInnis Park offers a 2.5 mile dirt loop trail and upon your return, stop in at the Country Club for a beverage. 

China Camp State Park

When entering China Camp State Park, the Bay Trail features two parallel routes — one on the road for experienced cyclists (no bike lanes or sidewalks here), and the spectacular wooded Shoreline Trail (3.5 miles) starting at the ranger kiosk off Point San Pedro Road.

Please note that no dogs are allowed on Shoreline Trail, and that the park is operated by Friends of China Camp, which charges a small trail-use fee.

The beautiful swooping trails through China Camp’s oak woodlands make it a very popular location for mountain biking. The China Camp Historic Area and museum do an excellent job of documenting the story of the Chinese shrimp camps that exported millions of pounds of dried shrimp to China annually. The historic old store next to the beach is open on weekends.

Where this trail ends near McNears Beach County Park, bike lanes and/or sidewalks are intermittent leading into downtown San Rafael. McNears is worth a visit, particularly on a hot day — a public pool, lawn, snack bar, fishing pier and mile-long beach will entice you to relax and stay a while.


McNears Beach County Park (San Rafael)

Set in a beautiful sheltered cove with mature landscaping, the narrow, bayside beach offers a fun, safe place for general beach recreation and easy carry-in boat access for kayaks and canoes. McNears is a designated “trailhead” on the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail.


John F. McInnis County Park (San Rafael)

This 450-acre park adjoins extensive bay wetlands and is a multi-use sports and outdoor activity facility that provides an award-winning skate park, two softball fields, two soccer fields, a canoe launch, four tennis courts, a group picnic area and nature trails. A private concessionaire operates the McInnis Park Golf Center.


China Camp State Park (San Rafael)

Picnic and BBQ facilities are available at several lovely shoreline spots within China Camp State Park—Buckeye Point, Weber Point, Five Pine Point, China Camp Village and Bullhead Flat.

Water Trail

McNears Beach (San Rafael)

McNears Beach Park is a favorite spot for kayakers and stand-up paddlers. Located along the San Rafael bayfront in a sheltered cove, the park’s sandy shoreline provides a scenic launching point for exploration of San Pablo Bay, including China Camp State Park located just northwest of McNears Beach.