Samuel P. Taylor State Park

Located about 30 minutes north of San Francisco, Samuel P. Taylor State Park offers a range of environmental education options

Samuel P. Taylor State Park
The park is 15 miles west of San Rafael on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard has wooded countryside in the steep rolling hills of Marin County north of San Francisco.

The park features a unique contrast of coast redwoods groves and open grassland. The park features a variety of flowers and trees, including oak, tanoak, madrone, live oak, laurel and Douglas fir. California native wildflowers include buttercups, milkmaids, and Indian paintbrush. The most common animal in the park is the black-tailed deer. There are also raccoons, striped skunks and gray foxes. Silver salmon and steelhead trout migrate up Papermill Creek to spawn.

Park Overview

Samuel Taylor offers hikes through the redwood forest, alongside Papermill Creek, and sits on the site of the extinct paper mill and resort, Camp Taylor, of the 1870’s and 80’s. Samuel Taylor State Park is close enough to Point Reyes National Seashore for daytrips.

The park is named after Samuel Penfield Taylor, who came to California from Boston in 1849 to try his luck in the gold rush. He actually found gold, cashed in, and entered the lumber business. Purchasing 100 acres of timberland along Papermill Creek, Taylor built a paper mill and established a paper-making process. Using scrap paper and rags from San Francisco the mill produced newsprint and well as square-bottomed paper bags — a novelty at the time. Taylor built a resort hotel and Camp Taylor, one of the first sites in the US to offer camping as a recreational pursuit. The area was one of California’s most popular and well-known weekend recreation destinations in the 1870s-80s.

Educational Overview

Students discover the unique natural and human history of the area, develop group cooperation through a shared camping experience, enhance leadership abili ties, and learn basic camping skills. The Natural ists at Large program gives the students a “sense of place”. Redwood forest ecology, oak woodland, and native grasslands allow for easy access by an extensive trail network.

Natural History themes can include the chaparral community, north coast forest, fire ecology of the redwood forest, shoreline geology, and environmental influences on plant geography. A 15 minute shuttle ride to the Bear Valley Visitor Center is a nice optional excursion. The San Andreas Fault is only a few steps from the Visitor Center. Evidence of the 1906 earthquake abounds. Naturalists at Large’s program emphasis will be designed to complements the school’s goals and outdoor education needs.