New Interpretive Panels for Turtleback Trail

Jake's Island near Turtle Back Trail

Jake’s Island, off the back of Turtle Back Trail

China Camp State Park in Marin County provides valuable public coastal access, and the beach at the old fishing village site is popular with swimmers and picnickers. Equally well-used are the fifteen miles of trails that head off along the shore and crisscross the adjacent uplands.

One of those trails is called Turtle Back Trail. A 1.5 mile loop trail located on the bayside of N. San Pedro Road, just south of the entrance to Buck Ranch Meadows Campground, it includes great views out to the Bay, a shady stretch through upland woods, and five large interpretive panels that introduce hikers to the salt marsh, upland and mudflat habitat in the park.

old fishing boat at China Camp

old fishing boat at China Camp Beach

Sun and foggy sea air (and possibly mischief-makers) had taken a toll on the Turtle Back Trail panels. Faded and missing some of the three-dimensional add-ons, they were in need of a do-over — and earlier this year, we won the contract to replace them.

We reproduced the designs of the existing panels and commissioned new 3D tactile elements for three of them.

Thanks to everyone who worked with us on the project: California State Parks, sculptor Bridget Keimel, KVO in Santa Rosa, and Barber Signs in Petaluma. A good team effort!


Turtle Back Trail scrapbook:

changing out a panel on the trail

Changing out a panel on Turtle Back Trail earlier this month.

Salt Marsh panel with pickleweed

The Salt Marsh panel boasts a new pickleweed sculpture.

two hikers near the Salt Marsh panel

Regulars along the trail stop to chat near the Salt Marsh panel.

The Uplands panel with new shelf fungus

The Uplands panel includes a 3D representation of shelf fungus.

john glews near the upland panel

Our friend John Glews contributed his two cents — and we appreciated his feedback!

looking back down the trail

Looking back down the trail on the way to the Tidal Flats panel.

Tidal Flats panel

The Tidal Flats panel, incongruously located at the high point of the trail.

view out to the Bay from Turtle Back Trail

View out to San Pablo Bay from Turtle Back Trail.

overlooking San Pablo Bay in China Camp

Another vantage point in China Camp State Park, just south of Turtle Back Trail.