Barnabe Peak hike

Barnabe Bonanza

Hike to the Panoramic Summit of Barnabe Peak in Samuel P Taylor State Park

Woman with her arms outstretched to the rolling hills scenery while on a rock outcrop at Barnabe Peak in Samuel P Taylor Sate Park in Marin

Sure, there are higher mountains in Marin (Mount Tam) and easier ascents (Mount Burdell), but is there a more expansive North Bay view? Barnabe Peak in Samuel P. Taylor State Park offers a glorious view of all things Marin—and well beyond! From its summit, which has a cluster of antennas, radio towers, and a fire lookout, you can see all the way out to Point Reyes and Bodega Bay to the west. And that’s not all—you also get a view of three classic Bay Area peaks: Mount Tam, Mount Diablo, and Mount St. Helena. Yeah, you can see a lot!

Woman crossing a bridge over Devils Gulch Creek in Samuel P Taylor State Park

Woman hiking up Barnabe Fire Road in Samuel P Taylor State Park in Marin

Woman standing at the top of Barnabe Peak, looking out to Tomales Point and Bodega Bay

Be forewarned, it’s a tough climb to get to the top. Starting from the Devil’s Gulch area of Samuel P. Taylor, you can peer down into Devil’s Gulch Creek, looking for spawning salmon. The best place to try and spy them is on the bridge marked with the literal salmon signs, which you’ll cross over early in the hike. After that, you have a choice to make on which route to take. If Bills Trail is open, you can take it for a more gradual and forested ascent, which adds a mile to your hike. Bills Trail is often closed in the rainy season.

Woman looking into a cavernous redwood tree at Samuel P Taylor State Park in Marin

The other way up is via the exposed and steep Barnabe Fire Road, which has fantastic views of the grassy (and currently green!) coastal hills galloping all the way to Tomales Point and beyond on clear days. Cooler months are an ideal time to do this option, as it can be a thigh burner with an elevation gain of around 1,200 feet over the 2.5 miles to the summit. The views help power your spirit, if not your legs. The higher you go, the better the scenery, and at the summit it’s likely you’ll have the panorama all to yourself. Go ahead, take that glory twirl as you take in several icons of the Bay Area. On a clear day, this place is postcard perfect.

Woman hiking under redwoods with skylight ahead on Barnabe Fire Road in Samuel P Taylor State Park

Towers and antennas atop Barnabe Peak in Samuel P Taylor State Park

Woman hiking a wide open trail among green rolling hills at Samuel P Taylor State Park in Marin

Coming down from the peak, you also have a couple of options. Retrace your steps for a shorter out-and-back hike. If you have the time, you can opt for a longer loop hike by coming down the Barnabe Trail to the Cross Marin Trail. This makes for a 7-mile (round-trip) lollipop loop hike. There are a couple of intersections that aren’t super well-marked but shouldn’t get you lost. You might have to retrace your steps briefly at points. One point is on the Cross Marin Trail where you will come to a pedestrian overpass; do not cross the overpass, but instead just before the overpass, look to your right, where you’ll see the trail to return to Devil’s Gulch. The path parallels the road for a bit and veers up and inland in forested sections, until you come to a water tower; there are no signs at this water tower, but to the left of it is an obvious trail, which quickly links you to the main trail again. The other is near the Madrone Group Camp where you need to briefly go uphill to join the Barnabe Trail again to return to Devils Gulch.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: In Episode 42 "Out Yule Go" Weekend Sherpa co-founders Brad and Holly talk about highlights of their hike up to Barnabe Peak. What else can you possibly see on this hike other than fantastic views? Listen to find out!

Park at the turnout on the south side of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at Devils Gulch. (map) Bring a map! In the summer avoid doing this hike in the heat of the day. No dogs.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker on the SCA trail in Marin Headlands with view of the Golden Gate Bridge

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

    View
  2. Hiker at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve hiking amid lupine wildflowers

    Hidden Wilds of Healdsburg

    When you arrive at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve, you may wonder what could possibly be tucked behind a subdivision. But within minutes of hiking in this 155-acre preserve, the beauty reveals itself: majestic oak trees, wetland, spring wildflowers, and wowing views of the Mayacama Mountains and Russian River.

    View
  3. Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

    Carr Ranch

    Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

    View
  4. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

    View
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  4. Hikers by the reservoir at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks

    Triumphant in Triunfo

    Go on a hike with a peaceful reservoir, charming meadows, and beautiful spring blooms at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks.

    View