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. Sebastopol Food & Wine Roll

    One apple farm, three charming towns, multiple wineries, and infinite natural beauty. Savor a perfect autumn day in Sonoma County by biking the West County Regional Trail from Sebastopol to Forestville via Graton. It’s a 17-mile (round-trip) adventure. 

  2. Hiker taking a photo of sunset at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

    Sunshine and Skyline

    Head to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve for a 4-mile out-and-back hike on the Bay Area Ridge Trail that offers a front-row seat to spectacular sunsets.

  3. Hike Los Trancos Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains

    Light of Los Trancos

    In autumn, Los Trancos Open Space Preserve lights up with orange-red maples, yellow hazelnut, and deciduous oaks, making this 2.5-mile hike in the Santa Cruz mountains a wonder-fall destination.

  4. Sponsored

    Center of Attention

    Central Oregon is home to the craft beer capital of the US, the Deschutes River, and trails for every kind of outdoor adventure: hiking, skiing, paddling, biking, and—of course—relaxing at fire pits.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Secret Stair Master!

    Step up to a wonderful 2-mile, nearly 1000-step workout in peaceful Pasadena that is part leg labor, part suburban stroll, and all serene secret.

  2. Hiker at Dos Picos County Park in San Diego County

    Dos Picos

    The 1.4-mile loop around Dos Picos County Park is a small yet mighty gem in northern San Diego County. It's gentle and packs a bunch of scenery.

  3. U-pick and Hike

    Some of the most delicious anywhere grow on trees high up in the San Bernardino Mountains in the town of Oak Glen, where Los Rios Rancho, So Cal’s largest historic apple ranch, grows 32 varieties, all completely organic, and available as u-picks.

  4. Hike to an epic vista in the San Gabriels via the Colby Trail in Glendora

    Do It for a Donut!

    Why bust your legs on this 2.25-mile hike in the San Gabriels? Two words: Donuts. Donuts. Okay, you’ll also get great views and a fine workout, but we guarantee that the treat alone merits the trek.