Hike, Bike, or Climb the Rocky Ridges: Sanborn & Castle Rock

Sep 19th, 2018

County: Santa Clara County
Distance: 6 miles
Difficulty: Difficult

Explore the ridgeline of two vast parks–Sanborn County Park and Castle Rock State Park. Wind along the protected east side of the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains through forests of Douglas fir and oak. Passing immense sandstone outcrops and vestiges of early homesteaders’ orchards and dwellings, this fairly level trip is ideal for warm days–entirely in shade on a trail that varies in width from wide to narrow. Take a side trip along the way at Indian, Summit, or Castle Rock. Stay a little longer at Sanborn County Park’s walk-in campsite and explore more of what these two great parks have to offer.

Directions: Starting at the north side of the Sunnyvale Mountain trailhead, follow the Skyline trail north then make a left at the fork. Follow the Skyline Trail for the next 5.8 miles to the Saratoga Gap Preserve. Return back to the Sunnyvale Mountain trailhead via the Skyline trail.

Take a side trip:
Todd Creek Redwoods (0.3 miles): This grove of redwood giants is one of our favorites. Continue on the Sanborn trail to Sequoia/Peterson Grove Picnic Area or Sanborn County Park’s walk-in campsites.
Directions: Follow the Skyline trail 1.2 miles to the Sanborn Tail. Continue north on the Sanborn trail 0.3 miles to the Todd Creek Redwoods.

Indian Rock (1.2 miles): Stop by Indian Rock for some of the best views on the trail The sandstone outcroppings are great for climbers and a perfect perch for enjoying a backpack lunch.
Directions: Follow the Skyline trail 2.3 miles to the Indian Rock trail. Continue 1.2 miles gently uphill to the summit.

Summit Rock Loop (1.2 miles): Get a bird’s eye view of Sanborn County Park and Monte Bello Ridge to the north from the top of Summit Rock.
Directions: Follow the Skyline trail 2.7 miles to the south end of the Summit Rock Loop trail. Continue on the Summit Rock Loop for 1.2 miles back to the Skyline Trail; or head for the top via the Summit Rock trail (0.2 miles)

Sanborn County Park & Castle Rock State Park Map

Stay a little longer:
Extend your stay and spend the night nestled in the forest at Sanborn County Park’s walk-in campsite.
Sanborn County Park Info

Refuel at some of our favorite nearby restaurants:
Bell Tower Cafe

Simple lunch:
Big Basin Cafe
Big Basin Burger Bar

Less fancy dinner:
Pasta Armellino

Nicer dinner:
La Fondue 
Plumed Horse

Los Gatos:
Snacks and sweets:
Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company
Mama’s Bakery

Decadent breakfasts:
Cafe Dio
Southern Kitchen
Los Gatos Cafe

Simple lunch:
Purple Onion Cafe

Less fancy dinner:
Enoteca La Storia

Nicer dinners:
Nick’s Next Door
Dio Deka

On the way back to San Francisco:
Take the scenic route back to SF along Skyline Boulevard and stop at the famed Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside. There is plenty of seating out back and on the side complete with horseshoe pits and plenty of space for little ones to run around, while you enjoy a cold post-hike brew. It does get hectic with bikers on the weekends.


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