Santa Clara County Parks,
Santa Clara County
6 mile out and back hike through redwoods on the high eastern flanks of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Distance, category, and difficulty:
This 6 mile out and back hike is easy, with about 600 feet in elevation change. The park's elevation ranges from around 1400 feet (near the main park entrance) to about 3000 feet (along Skyline Boulevard).
Almost totally shaded.
Dirt trails and fire roads.
Nice year round.
From Interstate 280 in Santa Clara County, exit #7 Saratoga Avenue. Drive west on Saratoga Avenue, then in Saratoga, pick up CA 9 (Big Basin Way) heading west. At the junction with CA 35 at Saratoga Gap, turn left (south). Drive about 4.5 miles south on Skyline Boulevard (CA 35) to the unsigned Sunnyvale Mountain trailhead on the left side of the road (an emergency callbox stands at the driveway to the parking lot).
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS coordinates* for trailhead:
(* based on Google Earth data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, restaurants and stores in Saratoga. Sanborn-Skyline has a campground, accessible from CA 9 on the outskirts of Saratoga, with walk-in, RV, and a group campsite.
Small parking lot with room for about 6 vehicles. No parking or entrance fees (although entrance fees are collected at the park's main entrance). No toilets or drinking water. There's an emergency callbox on Skyline Boulevard, but the closest public pay phone is about 2 miles north, at Castle Rock State Park. No designated handicapped parking, and trails are not suitable for wheelchairs. There are two other significant Sanborn-Skyline Park trailheads along Skyline Boulevard: the first is about 1.5 miles south from CA 9. Look to the left for an unmarked dirt driveway leading to a rutted dirt parking lot. The second trailhead is easier to find; it's a broad dirt pullout about 2.5 miles south of CA 9 across the road from the Castle Rock State Park entrance. Neither trailhead has facilities. The main park entrance is on Sanborn Road, about 1.75 miles from Saratoga via CA 9. There is no direct public transportation to the park.
Trails are open to hikers and equestrians only. No bicycles permitted. Park hours are 8 a.m. to sunset. Dogs are permitted in all areas except Skyline Trail North of Summit Rock Parking lot and the Connector Trail from Skyline Trail that leads into Castle Rock SP. Watch for signs
The Official Story:
SCCP's Sanborn page
Park Headquarters 408-867-9959
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Map from SCCP (download Sanborn pdf)
Trail Map of the Santa Cruz Mountains (Map 1), by the Sempervirens Fund, has great detail of the northwestern part of the park, but does not cover the Lake Ranch area.
Afoot and Afield: San Francisco Bay Area, by David Weintraub (order this book from Amazon.com) has a great map and descriptions of a Sanborn-Skyline hike.
South Bay Trails, by Jean Rusmore, Betsy Crowder, and Frances Spangle (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and trail descriptions.
The Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Book by Tom Taber (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and park info.
The Bay Area Ridge Trail, by Jean Rusmore (order this book from Amazon.com) has a simple map and descriptions of the Ridge Trail segment.
Sanborn in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.
View photos from this hike.
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
County Park offers extensive facilities in the park's
"lowlands."You'll find restrooms, walk-in and family campgrounds,
as well as group and individual picnic areas. Just a mile uphill as the
crow flies, several rustic trailheads along Skyline Boulevard (and one
on Black Road) offer nothing more than parking. Sanborn presents
a city mouse/country mouse conundrum, so consider which mouse you are
before you visit. Families will probably be happiest near park headquarters,
where they can picnic and stroll on an all-access trail. Hikers seeking solitude should try
the Sunnyvale Mountain trailhead, one of the loneliest staging areas on
Skyline Boulevard.The Bay Area Ridge Trail's path through the Santa Cruz
Mountains terminates (or begins, depending on your perspective) at Sunnyvale
Mountain, and the trailhead has an end-of-the-line feeling.