Barnabe Peak Loop Trail, Devil's Gulch Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California

Barnabe Peak Loop Trail - 6.2 miles

Devil's Gulch Trailhead

View from Barnabe Peak (1,470') towards Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean

View from Barnabe Peak (1,470') towards Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean

Round-Trip Length: 6.2 miles
Start-End Elevation: 140' - 140' (1,470' max elevation at Barnabe Peak)
Elevation Change: +1,330' net elevation gain (+1,450' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Barnabe Peak Loop Trail - 6.2 Miles Round-Trip

Samuel P. Taylor State Park covers 2882 acres of redwood stands along Lagunitas Creek, diversely vegetated canyons and open coastal hills. The park is named for Samuel Penfield Taylor, a prospector who arrived in San Francisco in 1849 with a group of friends and opened a food stand with a carton of eggs he found and then sold. He later started a papermill and opened his camp to tourists in the late 1870s.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Barnabe Peak is named for explorer John Fremont's working mule Barnabe, who eventually became Taylor's family pet.

While campgrounds are often full at Samuel P. Taylor, the trails are generally not crowded, even on weekends. Hikers and runners will enjoy solitude in an otherwise busy Marin County trail system:

The trail leaves from the Devil's Gulch Trailhead located on Sir Francis Drake Blvd exactly 1 mile west of the main park entrance. Park on the south side of the highway in the unmarked parking area then walk across Sir Francis Drake Blvd to the Devil's Gulch fire road. 

Walk .1 mile on Devil's Gulch Road then bear right on the dirt trail leading down to Devil's Gulch Creek (.1 miles : 167').  It continues to Salmon Crossing (.25 miles : 150') - turn right over the bridge then left onto Bill's Trail to begin the loop.

Bill's Trail rises away from the creek in a dense mix of tanoak, laurel and Douglas fir that dampens sound from Devil's Gulch campground (.5 miles : 235'). At 1.0 miles an unmarked trail leads down and to the left: this is a spur to Stairstep Falls, an easy excursion to a seasonal cascade.

Bill's Trail continues up mild switchbacks below notably tall Douglas fir with partial views of open grassy hills on the north side of Devil's Gulch.

The next 2 miles run through a mixed forest to a meadow (3.0 miles : 1,000'), then dips back into the forest before emerging in the fully exposed southwest ridge of Barnabe Peak. 

Turn left on the Barnabe Peak Trail (3.65 miles : 1,185'), which steepens on a wide fire road to the top of Barnabe Peak (4.1 miles : 1,470'). Enjoy panoramic views that extend across the Marin County Watershed, Mt Tamalpais, Kent Lake, Tomales Bay and Point Reyes

Located atop the peak is Dickinson Fire Lookout, one of only 2 remaining in Marin County and only one still in operation (the other is on Mt Tam and has been defunct for years).

From the peak, hike back down to the summit trail split (at Bill's Trail) and turn left onto 'Barnabe Road'. This wide fire road drops quickly across open rolling hills (5.0 miles : 765') with terrific views of Bolinas Ridge (south) and Point Reyes National Seashore (north).

It passes the split for Madrone Campground (5.5 miles) and stays right on what becomes Gravesite Road, named for the actual burial site of Samuel P Taylor (1827 - 1896), located just off trail shortly past the Madrone Campground split.

The trail reaches Salmon Crossing to complete the loop portion of the hike (6.0 miles : 150'). Cross the bridge, turn left and hike back to the Devil's Gulch Trailhead (6.1 miles : 140').

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N38 01.779 W122 44.182 — 0.0 miles: Devil's Gulch Trailhead - 140'
  • N38 01.821 W122 44.035 — 0.1 miles: Bear right at split towards creek - 167'
  • N38 01.884 W122 43.934 — .25 miles: Turn right at Salmon Crossing then left onto loop - 150'
  • N38 01.992 W122 43.762 — 0.5 miles: Gradual incline through forest canopy - 235'
  • N38 02.092 W122 43.471 — 1.0 miles: Unmarked split to Stairstep Falls - stay straight - 367'
  • N38 02.036 W122 43.329 — 1.5 miles : Start of long winding switchbacks - 560'
  • N38 01.994 W122 43.270 — 2.0 miles: Trail rises through dense forest - 700'
  • N38 01.850 W122 43.353 — 2.5 miles: Intermittent views of grassy hillsides across valley - 855'
  • N38 01.945 W122 43.054 — 3.0 miles: Break 1000' elevation mark
  • N38 01.797 W122 43.086 — 3.5 miles: Leave the forest canopy - enter grass meadows - 1,155'
  • N38 01.746 W122 43.183 — 3.65 miles: Split to Barnabe Peak, turn left - 1,185'
  • N38 01.610 W122 42.987 — 4.1 miles: Barnabe Peak - 1,470'
  • N38 01.554 W122 43.558 — 5.0 miles: Descending back side through rolling grass hills - 765'
  • N38 01.544 W122 43.949 — 5.5 miles: Madrone Campground Split - stay straight - 410'
  • N38 01.885 W122 43.939 — 6.0 miles: Return to Salmon Crossing, cross bridge, turn left - 150'
  • N38 01.781 W122 44.179 — 6.2 miles: Devil's Gulch Trailhead - 140'

Worth Noting

  • Samuel P. Taylor State Park offers AT&T Wi-Fi Service. Visitors with wireless enabled laptop computers and PDAs will have Wi-Fi access within 150 to 200' of the Ranger Station.
  • Poison oak is prevelant in the park - be mindful of stepping off trail.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • The main campground has 61 family campsites with restrooms, hot pay showers, and piped drinking water. Some parking spaces can accommodate small trailers, but none have hookups. Four group campsites can hold 10-50 people. Horse camps may be reserved.

  • Madrone Group Camp #1 has space for up to 50 people, and Group Camp #2 can hold up to 25 people.

  • Devils Gulch Horse Camp #1 has a corral, hitch racks, watering troughs and a campsite for up to 20 people (equestrians only).

  • Two additional tent-only sites hold up to 10 people.

  • Each campsite may have up to eight people (including children).

  • Check in time is 2 pm or later; check out time is noon.

  • Two vehicle maximum per campsite; these may only be parked at your designated site.

  • Fires are permitted only in established fire rings or camp stoves. Firewood gathering is prohibited. Firewood is available for sale within the Park.

  • Generators are allowed 10 am - 8 pm. Quiet hours are 10 pm - 6 am.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is strictly prohibited within the Park.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's an $8 fee to enter Samuel P Taylor State Park.
  • Dogs are not permitted on the Barnabe Peak Loop. However, Dogs are permitted in Samuel P Taylor State Park in general. Dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6' and under control at all times.
  • Dogs are not permitted on any Park trails, fire roads, in the creek, or any undeveloped area. They may not be left unattended, and must be inside a vehicle or tent at night. Dogs are restricted to the campground, picnic area and on the Cross Marin Trail/Bike Path.
  • Bikes are allowed on paved roads and dirt fire roads, but prohibited on Park trails.
  • Maximum camper length: 31' | Maximum trailer length: 27'

Directions to Trailhead

Samuel P Taylor State Park is located 15 miles west of San Rafael on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

From Highway 101, take the Sir Francis Drake Blvd exit and drive 15 miles west to the main entrance of Samuel P Taylor State Park. From the park entrance, it is another 1 mile to the small parking area on the left hand side of the road. Park in the pullout area and then walk across the street towards the clearly marked Devil's Gulch sign.

Contact Information

Samuel P Taylor State Park
8889 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
Lagunitas, CA 94938

Operating Hours: 8 am - sunset

Camping Reservations: 800.444.7275

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