A Hillside Ridge Trail Hike above Saratoga

The Bay Area Ridge Trail follows the path of the John Nicholas Trail at Sanborn County Park. The wooded trail on a hillside above Saratoga drops 1,200 feet from Skyline Drive to Lake Ranch Reservoir. The Ridge Trail portion of the route ends at the reservoir. The nicely crafted footpath opened in 2014. It still holds a hint of new trail smell.

We are hiking the 400-mile Bay Area Ridge Trail. Sign up to follow our progress here.

TRAIL MAP (date hiked)

Our Journal

Our hike in Sanborn County Park marked a return to the Santa Cruz Mountains after a fall spent exploring Ridge Trail segments at far-flung locations from Calistoga to Morgan Hill. We live at the northern tip of this coastal range, so this hike felt familiar.

The day was cool and a stiff breeze was blowing at the trailhead as we stepped off. While most Ridge Trail treks begin with a rigorous climb up a hillside, this hike begins with a meandering 1,200-foot descent.

Highlights included lots of shade in a sun-dappled wood, an overlook of Saratoga and the Silicon Valley, several tafoni sandstone formations and a pair of bridges crossing an unnamed creek to a small island.

The John Nicholas Trail continues beyond the reservoir, but the Ridge Trail conveniently ends waterside at a picnic table, where we enjoyed our lunch before retracing our steps up the hill to the car.

John Nicholas Trail Overlook at Sanborn County Park.
John Nicolas Trail at Sanborn County Park.

Miles we hiked


(with returns and connectors)

Elevation gain






Our Progress Hiking the Bay Area Ridge Trail – 206 out of 400 miles


Click HERE
to support
the Ridge Trail

Leave a Reply