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Barnabe Peak Loop Hike

A morning hike up Barnabe Peak, it's vistas and a return along a Redwood lined creek trail.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 5.6 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview:  A morning hike to the old fire watcher’s tower on Barnaby Peak. A loop back along the ridge's top and down to the canyon floor to... more »

Tips:  Location:
Lagunitas, CA 94938
Latitude: 38.019765
Longitude: -122.73009

The park is 15 miles west of San Rafael on Sir... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trail Head

We start at the Madrone Campgrounds just down the road and westerly from the park’s main entrance in the upper parking area. Head up the gated Barnabe fire road in the northwest corner.

Restrooms are available in this campground.
Dogs are not allowed on the trail.
This trail is suitable for hikers, bikes, and horses.

2. Junction

3-way intersection: Take the left road heading northerly across the hill. We will be returning here later from the right fork.


A view begins to open over the immediate surroundings.

4. Junction

3-way intersection: Continue up Barnaby Road by taking the right-hand fork heading northeasterly up the hill.

The left fork will take you down to the Devil’s Gulch Campground via the Graveyard Gulch Road (open to all users). On the way one passes a side trail to Taylor's Grave Site (Hikers Only).

The road will slowly wind toward the east as it... More

5. Vista

Views down the valley.

6. Vista

Views westerly and up slope to the Fire Watch.

7. Fire Tower View

As the grade steepens, this is a really nice spot for a breather. Take a moment to look up slope at the Fire Tower.

8. Junction

Bill's Trail Junction. This trail heads down into Devil's Gulch and past Stairstep Falls which is best seen just after winter storms.

From here it's the final walk to the summit.

Hikers only trail.

9. Junction

A trail junction at the top of Barnaby Peak. Left takes you on a short, windy side-trip to the Fire Watch tower with a view over the surrounding region.

Down the back slope to the north and east, the lands are primarily private on larger parcels. There is an additional gated private access road down.

10. Dickson Lookout

The Dickson Lookout was dedicated on June 9, 1940 in Honor of Frederick W. Dickson (September 1870-April 1957). The elevation is 1466 feet (447 m).

Great views!

11. Viewpoint

Almost due northwest and across the valley is Deer Point at 935 feet (285 meters); beyond that are lands of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The tall peak beyond Deer Point is called Black Mountain with an elevation of 1280 feet (390m).

Northeast: Shroyer Mountain at 1458 ft (444 m).

East: Up the valley is the town of Woodacre.

... More


A side path across the grasses on the southerly side of Barnaby Road takes us out to a knoll with more vistas of the valley below and surrounding countryside.

Strictly low impact hiking please. The surrounding grasses are delicate.

13. Monument

State of California Elevation Monument. It's been left unmarked/unstamped by the survey crew.

14. Vista

This is possibly the best view of the walk on this knoll. Recall the landmarks from POI 11?

South: Kent Lake up the canyon with the tall dam and spillway with Mount Tam in the background.

Southeast: Pine Mountain is the grass topped peak at 1762 feet (537 m).

East: Up the valley is the town of Woodacre.

Northeast: Shroyer Mountain at 1458 ft ... More

15. Junction

Gently dropping elevation. Another minor footpath to a knoll with great views of the surrounding country.

At this point the trail transitions woodlands.

Bikes OK on Barnaby Road but not on the side trails.

16. Wildflowers in bloom

Another minor junction and footpath. This one rounds the grass-covered southwest side of a knoll.

On the protected back slope just south of this POI and along the road were hundreds of wildflowers and orchids representing several species blooming in the early April.

17. Vista

Looking out over the canyon down the easterly side of Barnaby Peak.

18. Junction

The other end of the minor footpath at POI 16.

Up ahead under the tree cover is a great place to see more early blooms.

19. Junction

A dirt road down to Alta Terrace Road in a subdivision northeast of the park. There is no signage at the location or reference to it on the park maps. It looks as though it isvery heavily used.

The road will continue to generally lose elevation as it rounds the side of the mountain and reenters the Lagunitas Creek watershed.

20. Junction

Barnaby Road meets the Cross Marin Trail next to Lagunitas (Papermill) Creek.

The segment of the Cross Marin Trail through Samuel P. Taylor SP began life as a 3' Narrow Gauge Railroad called the North Pacific Coast in 1874. Most of Southern Marin's towns were developed in conjunction with the road and benefited from stations through much of... More

21. Junction

A well worn side path into a redwood grove and down to Lagunitas (Papermill) Creek. A pretty good place to stop and enjoy the coolness of the grove and river.

"Papermill" is the earlier name of the creek. It's still in use among some of the locals.

22. POI

Lagunitas (Papermill) Creek in the redwoods- generally a quiet river. Once famed locally for its fishing, it's currently closed in an attempt to restart the fish populations.

Under the redwoods you can find dense redwood sorrel. This is a nice little stopping point just off the Cross Marin Trail.

23. Junction

Entrance down to the Irving Group Picnic Area.
Tables, restroom, parking, and easy access to Sir Francis Drake HWY. Call ahead for availability.

24. Irving Group Picnic Area

The Irving Picnic Area makes for a good lunch spot. Essentially nothing is left of the tiny village of "Irving" that was once here.

The town was named after Taylor's wife, Sarah Washington Irving, and sported a thriving leather tannery, railroad station, a rooming house, and cottages. Just upstream at a safe distance was the Pacific Powder Mill, ... More

25. Junction

Road to Sir Francis Drake HWY.

26. Irving Trail Junction

The junction for the Irving Trail is on the northerly uphill side of the Cross Marin just east of a bridge. Also at this junction is a service road down to the highway.

Continuing on the Cross Marin Trail will take one over a bridge built on the footings of the old railroad and across Lagunitas Creek. It services the southerly side of the state ... More

27. Grove

Enter into a gully, redwood grove, highway access, and junction. None of the trails are marked so it can get confusing. Look for the trail intersection.

28. Junction

Look for the service road that heads northerly and steeply up the hill. It leads to one of the park's wells and to very large water tanks.

29. Junction

Look for the semi overgrown road on the westerly side of the service road at the base of the meadow below the park’s water tanks. There is a 3" X 3" wood post marker with a yellow top opposite the road. Take the road westerly, skirting the lower edge of the meadow.

Just up the road you will see a structure that contains water pumps, and beyond,... More

30. Junction

Approaching a structure and park staging area.

Follow the road northwesterly through the oak and chaparral.

31. Junction

Return to the POI 2 Junction. Head southwest down the road to the parking area and trail head.

32. Trail Head

Return to the trail head.