Cross Marin Trail


6 Reviews

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Cross Marin Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: Marin
Length: 5.3 miles
Trail end points: Platform Bridge Rd. (Point Reyes Station) and Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Shafer Bridge Trailhead (Lagunitas)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015313

Cross Marin Trail Description


The spectacular Cross Marin Trail (previously known as the Sir Francis Drake Bikeway) follows the route of the former North Pacific Coast Railroad and roughly parallels the sinuous Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. The family-friendly, partly paved rail trail makes up a segment of Northern California’s Bay Area Ridge Trail.

About the Route

On its southern end, the trail is composed of a gravel-and-dirt path in the dense woodlands of Lagunitas. While small footbridges ensure users have a safe path over culvert overflows, this unpaved section of trail is likely not suitable for wheelchair use. On the left side of the trail, thick redwood stands cushioned by sorrel and ferns, as is the lovely Lagunitas Creek (closed from December to mid-June for salmon protection). At mile 1.5, you arrive at a bridge carrying trail traffic over both Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and Lagunitas Creek. A cheeky red salmon crossing sign alerts trailgoers to threatened populations of silver (or coho) salmon and steelhead trout that migrate up the creek to spawn during the winter. This is the first of several spots along the trail where you can view them (and possibly, beavers that sometimes work in the area).

Just past the bridge is an unmarked and easy-to-miss intersection with the 1.6-mile Pioneer Tree Trail, a hiking and equestrian path that rejoins our trail at mile 2. Here, the route goes through a gate that leads to the paved and lightly trafficked on-road section of the trail as it goes through Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Samuel Taylor was an entrepreneur who struck it rich during the California gold rush and created Camp Taylor, one of the first sites in the country to offer camping as a recreational activity. In the 1870s and 1880s, it was common for families to take the railroad out to the camp for the weekend.

Here, the trail passes the Redwood Grove Group Picnic Area, followed by several campsites that, while frequently full, do not detract from the area’s natural beauty. Oak, tanoak, madrone, live oak, laurel, and Douglas-fir are all visible along the path, which is lined with California native buttercups, Indian paintbrush, and milkmaids. Black-tailed deer, the most common animal in the state park, can often be spotted from the trail.

The northernmost section is shaded by cool redwood groves. For a quick detour and dip in the creek, veer right at mile 3.1 to the popular Swimming Hole Bridge. Another 0.8 mile north of the swimming hole, you’ll intersect the Jewell Trail, a 1-mile connector to the 11-mile Bolinas Ridge Trail. From here, the remainder of the Cross Marin Trail is located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

To extend your day, try exploring the numerous other trails in Samuel P. Taylor State Park (day-use fees apply year-round). Horseback riding is allowed on the entirety of the trail. Public equestrian parking is available along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard via large pullouts.

Parking and Trail Access

The Cross Marin Trail runs between Platform Bridge Rd. (Point Reyes Station) and Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Shafer Bridge Trailhead (Lagunitas), with parking available at both ends.

Please see the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.


Cross Marin Trail Reviews



Nice walking trail

We walked the section between shafter bridge and Samuel P Tayler campground. There was plenty of parking when we pulled in around 10am but there were several cars waiting when we got back around noon. The trail to the campground is gravel and flat. Nice simple path for easy biking. I wouldn’t do it with a road bike but a city bike or something with larger tires would be fine. Walking was also nice. The other nice feature are the restrooms near the campground.

Half Fire Trail / Half Paved Trail

The start of the trail by the fish viewing area is a FIRE TRAIL. The second half, after crossing the road, is paved asphalt. Unfortunately I showed up with my road bike and not my mountain bike, so my ride was a short one.

Cross Marin Trail--Samuel P. Taylor State Park

The trail has beginnings at Shafter Bridge, just West of Lagunitas on Sir Francis Drake Blvd . A salmon viewing spot at the bridge has limited 2 hour parking. If parking here, you must cross Sir Francis Drake to the foot, bicycle bridge over the creek. Riding west for about 2 miles on well maintained dirt path, you reach Samuel P. Taylor State Park--no fee to ride through the park, where the path becomes paved. The paved section is about 3 miles long running from the park to Platform Bridge Road, where there is also parking.
Beautiful trail--Redwoods, grasslands, oaks and the entire trail runs beside Lagunitas Creek.
There is no longer a "dead end" as a bridge has been built across the creek near Shafter Bridge. Enjoy--easy flat ride for all levels.


Great trail for families

This trail is paved and virtually flat going through Golden Gate Recreation Area and Samuel P. Park. From Platform Bridge at intersection of Platform Bridge Road and Sir Francis Drake Blvd. to campground and park headquarters is paved--very scenic, following Lagunitas Creek through Redwoods. Beyond the Samuel P. Park Group Picnic area the trail is packed gravel. It will have some puddles after rain. The path ends at a new bicycle, pedestrian bridge crossing Lagunitas Creek at Sir Francis Drake Blvd. near the town of Lagunitas. By entering at Platform Bridge, there is no fee to go through the park. You can access the path by entering Samuel P. Park at main entrance off of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. There is a day use fee required to enter at this point.
There are mountain bike options leading off of this trail in to Golden Gate Recreation Area, for experienced riders--uphill!!

"Nice Trail, but very unfinished!"

"Can't wait for this one to be completed. If you try to bike here from SF, be advised you have to travel many miles on the shoulder of a rather busy road before you get here. Also, be advised that travelling east on the trail, you must exit at the group picnic area, if you try and go further you wind up at a dead end and must backtrack for over a mile to get back to the road!"

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