Backpack Sam McDonald Park
San Francisco › Sam McDonald County Park Parking Area
Added by Ashley Chang
Escape into Sam McDonald Park's redwood forest and stay in one of the two campgrounds. The park is located less than an hour from San Francisco.
The Pescadero Creek Park Complex is a great place to escape for a day or overnight hike in the heart of the Bay Area. You will need to get a permit to stay overnight - these can be attained on a first-come, first-serve basis from the ranger station. Most of the campsites here are also available first-come, first-serve. A permit is required to park a car overnight. You can also pick up a trail map from the ranger station.
After parking, cross the street and start to climb up the hill, taking the wide path on the right. The hill lasts half a mile. Take a moment at the top to admire the view before heading past the horse camp and down Brook Trail Loop on your right. Stay on the loop for 1.7 miles before taking a left (AWAY from Jones Gulch trail) and continuing 0.6 miles further to reach Shaw Flat Trail Camp. Stay the night in one of several campsites here. At Shaw Flat, you are about two miles from Tarwater Trail Camp on Pomponio Trail.
Consider staying at Tarwater or Shaw and exploring the many trails surrounding the area. To leave from Tarwater, backtrack 0.2 miles to Tarwater Trail Loop and take this back to the Towne Fire Road, which will lead up the hill and out to the parking lot.
- Sleeping pad
- Sleeping bag
- Camp stove
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Backpacking, Camping, Hiking
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
This area is one of my favorite areas in the entire Bay Area. The chances that you will have this place all to yourself are very. If you are trying to escape the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area just over the mountain, this is the place to go.
More Adventures Nearby
Hike Peters Creek and Long Ridge
San Francisco / Long Ridge Open Space Preserve Trailhead
From the parking lot, take the connector trail towards the Peters Creek Trail for 0.4 miles. As you descend into a small valley, notice the sound of running water that appears.
Hike the Tabor Nature Trail
San Francisco / Taber Nature Trail, Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area
Signs at the trail head for the Tabor Trail state it is 1.1 miles long. That is much shorter than the actual 1.8 miles my GPS put it at. The trail sign also claims it is wheelchair accessible.