California State Park: Samual P. Taylor

The Marin County in the Bay Area will allow you to explore the one of California’s natural treasures, the redwoods. Nestled in the rolling hills, Samuel P. Taylor State Park is filled with woodlands and a few open grass meadows.  Wildlife includes trees like oak, tanoak, madrone and Douglas fir as well as California native wildflowers like buttercups and Indian paintbrush. Some animals that you may spot are the black-tailed deer, raccoons, gray foxes and a variety of birds. Plus, silver salmon and steelhead trout migrate up Papermill Creek to spawn.

In 1849 a man by the name of Samuel Penfield Taylor bought 100 acres of timberland along the Papermill Creek after striking it rich in the California Gold Rush. Using scrap paper and rags from San Francisco, Taylor produced newsprint and square bottom bags – a novelty at the time. Taylor then built a resort hotel and Camp Taylor, which ended up being one the first places in the U.S. to offer recreational camping to the public.

The Cross Marin Trail is a paved bike trail that runs about three miles through the park, beginning near the entrance of the park. The trail is nearly level and follows the old Northwest Pacific Railroad right-of-way along with interpretive panels at historic sites. It is plenty wide for any wheelchair, maybe even a couple side by side. The trail gets a lot of shade and there are no restrooms or drinking fountains along the way, so come prepared.

At the campground picnic tables can be found, so pack a lunch or at least a snack. If there is an open campground then that may be a more enjoyable ambiance but be sure to dispose of your trash properly to not attack bears. There are 6 camp sites designated to be wheelchair accessible, one of which I visited. It was more level then most of the surrounding sites and the picnic table had a section where a wheelchair could roll right up to it. However other than that, I didn’t see any other adjustments. Even to get to the bathroom, though directly behind the accessible site, is up a small dirt hill; so for most wheelchair users, one must take the paved road back and around to the bathroom and shower. It is certainly inconvenient and unfortunate that the setup was planned this way but the reroute is pretty short.  There is one large unisex wheelchair accessible toilet and sink as well as a separate shower with a wooden bench. The exact layout for the other wheelchair accessible campsite or sites is unknown but according to the State Parks website, two campsites have asphalt pads but the rest are dirt. 

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