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Sawyer Camp

Sawyer Camp is a very easy ride that is a good place for kids or beginners who need a bit of a confidence boost.  The riding is easy with only a slight uphill grade and there are plenty of places to rest (if needed).  Almost the entire trail is paved, so it is not really mountain biking, but you are close enough to the dirt to make it a successful introduction that leaves new riders feeling eager to step up to the next level.

Park: Sawyer Camp - San Mateo County Park
Date: August 19, 2007
Distance: 12 miles
Ride Time: 1 hour with stops
Total Ascent: 300
Map: Detailed trail map
Overall Rating: 3

Sawyer Camp Trail runs parallel to I-280 from Hillsborough to Millbrae. Starting just north of the Bunker Hill freeway exit, the trail runs along Crystal Springs reservoir and up to San Andreas Reservoir. These provide drinking water for San Francisco and are not accessible from the trail. In fact, you cannot get off the trail at all.

The trail is basically flat for the first 5 miles, running parallel to the lake edge. It winds along the hillside, in and out of tree cover. Entire trail is paved and has a dashed yellow line down the middle. There are lots of walkers, runners, roller bladers, babies in strollers, skateboarders, and bicycles on this trail. It was quite manageable when we were there, but I understand it is often more crowded. There are lots of places with benches or picnic tables in the shade along the way, many of which might make for a good picnic lunch. There are several out houses along the trail, but no water. The whole ride worked out pretty well when we were there.

There is not too much hill climbing and it is all at the end of the ride, so you can turn around it it gets to be too much for someone in your party. The trail ends at Hillcrest Ave. in Millbrae. If you go under the freeway, there is a nice view down onto San Francisco International Airport and, looking past it, to Mt. Diablo.

This was a nice, easy ride and is a good introduction for beginning riders, including children. This can also be combined with rides at Waterdog or Canada Road for a longer ride.

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