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Sanborn County Park

Sanborn Road is off of Highway 9 just beyond Saratoga Springs. This leads up to the Walden West youth center, a youth hostel, and Sanborn-Skyline county park. The end of the public road is a short ways beyond the park entrance. This area has lots of redwoods and creeks. The paved road is reasonably steep but a nice ride. When reversed, the steep climb becomes a fast descent on a paved road with only a few curves. It is pretty easy to reach speeds in excess of 40 mph while descending Sanborn Road.

Park: Sanborn County Park
Date: Multiple Rides
Distance: Various
Ride Time: Various
Total Ascent: Various
Map: Detailed trail map
Overall Rating: 6


In 2014, the county park's master plan for this large park finally became a reality and some of the trails were opened to bicycles.  While the number of trails currently open is still small, they are a good start. The key trails are:

  • Lake Ranch - This is a short, steep trail from the end of Sanborn Road up to the small Lake Ranch Reservoir. This is a half mile long fireroad climb that averages a 16% grade with sections that are even steeper.
  • John Nicholas - This is the main trail that connects the top and bottom of the park. There are basically two parts to this trail. The section between Lake Ranch Reservoir and Black Mountain Road is a fireroad that is essentially flat. This is a nice ride for beginners parking in the small lot on Black Mountain Road. The other part is a doubletrack that runs between the reservoir and Skyline Road (Highway 35) at the top. This is a new section of trail (as of 2014) that is not very technical but make a nice ride with lots of wide switch backs to make it to the top while keeping the grade much more moderate. It is a pretty section of trail that climbs (or descends) about 1100 feet in 3.35 miles. Roughly in the middle is a large rock with several tafoni that is a nice spot for a picture.
  • Skyline - This section runs roughly parallel to Skyline Road from the top of John Nicholas to the southeast end of the Saratoga Gap parking lot (near the entrance). This sounds less hilly than it really is.The net elevation increase from Saratoga Gap to the other end is 238 feet, but the actual climb is more like 1200 feet due to the ups and downs along the trail. Most of this 5.25 mile trail is singletrack or double track. The trail runs roughly parallel to Skyline Road (Highway 35).

The trails make a very nice ride through the forest.

Access is planned to El Sereno in the Sanborn's Master Plan via a new Faultline Trail which should connect near the Aquinas/Monte Vina junction.  See Map 9 in the official map for planned mountain bike access.


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