Located just 15 miles (30 minutes) west of San Rafael on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, rests 2,882 protected acres of land known as Samuel Taylor State Park. This central-California landscape hosts a mild climate, with daily weather varying from dense fog and rain to full sun. Subsequently, summer and spring are usually a bit cooler than other neighboring regions. The same is true during fall and winter, with overnight lows dropping to freezing, resulting in freezing rain, sleet, hail, and even snow. The park itself is a haven for hikers and campers all over California, thanks to the numerous trails, viewpoints, and towering Redwoods overhead.
Visitors will love camping among the Redwoods, biking along the creek, and exploring a number of diverse hiking trails. Relax and find peace within while watching salmon spawn underneath the cool shade of an antiquated redwood tree. The Wheelchair-accessible South Creek Trail winds 1.5 miles through a fern-filled forest on the banks of Lagunitas Creek. In the rainy season, you might see spawning salmon and flowers such as fetid adder’s tongue, giant trillium, and redwood sorrel along the way. More fun awaits with beach activities and wildlife spotting over on Point Reyes National Seashore. After a full day of fun, the comforting embrace of the Redwoods can lull the restless to a deep sleep. There’s really no better place to escape for a weekend or more, and luckily there’s plenty of accommodations to do so.
Fortunately, Samuel P. Taylor State Park has numerous sites available to accommodate a range of group sizes. This includes sites for 5, 10, 15, 20 and even 50 people. Moreover, most of the park’s campsites lie beneath majestic redwoods, with a few (at Devil's Gulch and Madrone) under oaks and bay laurel at the bottom of Barnabe Peak. If tent camping isn’t your preference, there’s also a limited number of newly built cabins available for rental. Dogs (except for service animals) are permitted only in campgrounds, picnic areas, and on paved trails/roads. That said, you can't bring your furry friends to the hike and bike campsites, or in the cabin area. Furthermore, all pets must be on a six-foot or shorter leash and kept in a tent or vehicle overnight.
Reservations are highly recommended for regular campsites every day during peak season and on weekends year-round. Reservations are also recommended year-round for group sites and cabins.
Peaceful campground near the water and forrest. Great value and well kept area. Would definitely go back, especially since it is so close to SF.
The Upper Campground is a gem of a place to camp, nestled among the redwoods on the eastern facing side of a ridge (complete with hiking trails) and a creek. The Madrone group campground is across Sir Francis Drake Blvd (I personally think it's less scenic but more open). The only reason I took off a star is the campground's proximity to the road, which is not extremely busy but can be noisy if you are camping in a tent. Were it not for the noise, we'd go back again and again and again.
This can be very busy in the campground area in the summer. Better in the fall. The sites along the creek (not on the hill) are the best. Also great shared creekside spot for bikers and hikers.There is a great swimming hole about 3/4 of a mile down the creek. Good hiking trails - one along the creek and one along the hillside that are mostly shaded and not widely used. Also to the top of Mt. Barnabe which is a longer harder climb. The Cross Marin trail is great for biking.
We loved it. So relaxing, our campsite was very spacious. All the park was very clean, restrooms and showers not the best but it’s camping. Hiking trails at it’s finest. River was nice to relax.
One of the easiest accessed and most beautiful campgrounds in the state and it is literally just outside the city. Campsites are well maintained and under beautiful and huge trees. The bathrooms are well maintained and the camp host was incredibly nice!
It was lovely to wake up in the morning and not have to go far to spend time in Point Reyes or Mt. Tamalpais. We got lucky and had a quiet spot but this campground was really popping at the other end.
Being that it is so close to the city, I would avoid this spot on major weekends or holidays. But middle of the week and not during the Summer is ideal.
Lots of hiking and biking usually but the bike trail is under construction now.
Had to check out this spot. I pass it all the time and have been dying to check it out. Glad I did. Level pad for camp trailers. Fire pits updated and bbq on every site. Site 49 is a nice.
This campground is less than an hours drive from San Francisco. It is along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard which takes you through a bunch of very cute tiny towns. It offers easy access to the Bay so plenty of beach access within a short drive. There is a fantastic grocery place at Pont Reyes Station so stop there for fresh bread, wine, cheese from Cowboy Creamery, then head to Hog Island for shuck your own oysters.
The campground itself is populated with families so it’s lively and full of children. Make sure you bring bikes as the bike paths run along Lagunitas Creek are great. You can walk along the fish spawning area but are forbidden from accessing the water November to June to avoid disturbing the spawning season. This campground is not good for dogs. Leave your fur babies at home.
The wildlife are clever and tenacious. Two squirrels worked together to break into my food locker and partied down on some magic mushroom chocolate. Bastards.
Try to score one of the creek side spots. They are small but the proximity to the running water helps to cover the road noise.
Camped here for three nights over Fourth of July holiday (site 52). Because of the holiday and the proximity to Oakland/San Fran, the campground was in FULL EFFECT with a gang of variant families camp site hopping. Unfortunately, the site across from mine was the epicenter of all things July 4th and the aforementioned multivariate families. Had I chosen the site to my left, or a few more down the road, I would have barely noticed them at all - sites 47-44 had no one across the way, more private, set back. Aside from the crew across the way playing the LOUDEST game of cornhole/bags I have ever heard (think gunshot every time a bag struck the board), the group(s) were mostly awkward lively teenagers and their parents (think Riverdale without the murders). To the teenagers' credit, I didn't hear a curse word from the group, just pure spaz. I think they really did create some rad summer memories. Having said all that, if I returned I would snag site 44. Just trust me on this. Most of the sites are pretty decent, but 44 was the best.
In terms of cell service, I had pretty good range, was able to listen to the Cubs win one of four games against the Pirates (the series started with a brutal take down of the Cubs 18 to 5 - don't worry - Cubs managed a 3 game sweep of them a week later).
Bathrooms are decent, not the cleanest, but well stocked and had hand soap. Coin operated showers were also a treat (again, not the cleanest, but…). Potable water close to sites. Raccoons, Chipmunks and Blue Jays were NOT SHY but also not a harrowing issue.
The win on this campground is how close it is to Point Reyes National Seashore, San Rafael, Olema, Novato and Marshall. I would highly recommend Five Brooks Ranch in Olema for horseback riding, Hog Island in Marshall (snag a picnic table and shuck your own oysters - definitely a highlight) and Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station. Oh, Point Reyes Yoga - yes to this! - also in Point Reyes Station. Novato had the most adorable 4th of July parade complete with a pancake breakfast. And San Rafael - home of Terrapin Crossroads - music venue of the one and only Phil Lesh was also a highlight. There is also Kayaking in Tomales Bay which is okay fun.
Overall, this is a campground that checks a LOT of boxes.
One thing to note, the night is COLD up this way, and mere miles will cover several different weather systems. Bring layers.
Wonderful campground! The restrooms are clean and efficient, there are even coin operated hot showers! There are potable water taps close to every 4 or so camping spots. Dedicated fire pits and bbq stands.
Would definitely return again!
Rolled into this campground with no reservations The campground was pretty much empty. Park ranger Lynsey was great to work with after a long drive. The camp spots were pretty clean despite people being disrespectful to the park. I stayed in lot 44 which backed up to the beautiful forest. Great place to stay