Had I known what my Santa Cruz experience would be like ahead of time, I might have decided to stop and stay awhile at Sanborn Park, instead of just doing a quickie leg stretch here.
I was enjoying driving along CA 9, taking the scenic route from San Jose airport to Santa Cruz. I’d just passed through the quaint hamlet of Saratoga when I started inhaling a fragrant, slightly cooler breeze and enjoying the dense forest shade on both sides of the winding road. That’s when I saw the sign for Sanborn County Park and decided to stop for a little explore.
Nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the park covers 3,449 acres and has over 18 miles of trails amidst mixed evergreen forests of Oak, Tanborn Oak, Madrone, Redwoods and Douglass fir. During the summer, the park features the only outdoor Shakespearean company in Silicon Valley. The day use area has a 1 mile nature trail, picnic areas and restrooms – perfect for those on a road trip like me.
I read that the upper reaches of the John Nicholas Trail connect Lake Ranch Reservoir with the Skyline Trail and reward hikers with spectacular vistas of the San Francisco peninsula. (This trail that is open to all users – hikers, equestrians & mountain bikers.) If i’m ever in this area again, I’ll definitely do it. Until then a quick immersion in nature with a glimpse of wildlife was just what I needed.
Most interesting geological feature of the park is the San Andreas Fault which cuts through it diagonally.
Have you been to this park? If so, let us know what trails you did and how you liked it.
Day Use Entry Fee: $6
Mountain Biking: Allowed on park roads and designated trails only.
Camping: RV (year-round) & Tent (April through October)
Getting there: The main park entrance is on Sanborn Road, about 1.75 miles from Saratoga via CA 9.