Sanborn Trails

MODERATE 14 reviews

Sanborn Trails is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Saratoga, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.8 miles 1407 feet Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly




mountain biking

nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



Excellent hike through the redwoods just west of Saratoga and south of San Jose, California. Sanborn Skyline County Park gets pretty busy on many weekends with family reunions, wedding receptions and other assorted gatherings -- if you end up at one and find yourself craving a hike instead of all that company, this is the loop to take. It starts on the San Andreas Trail and takes a vigorous march up the hillside west of the park. The trail can be steep in places, but you'll be covered in a canopy of redwoods that'll shade you from the sun and help you forget why you need to be away from civilization for a few hours. The trail turns south after about three miles at the intersection with Sanborn Trail -- from here it's a couple miles back, all downhill. Sanborn Trail passes through the park's excellent walk-in campgrounds -- scout out some sites if you've got rambunctious kids who won't mind lugging all your camping gear up from the parking lot. The walk-in part discourages a lot of potential campers, leaving a fair number of open campsites for those who don't mind hauling their tents, food and such uphill. Those with the legs for it can enjoy some of the nicest campsites in the Bay Area. Once you get through the campgrounds, a park trail returns to the parking lot. Best time to go: Redwoods make for great all-year hiking. Going on weekdays can avoid the crowds.

1 month ago

Nice walk. Lots of shadow. I would like it better if there were circle options.
Great trail anyway.

2 months ago

Did a morning hike to get myself ready for the school year- got out at ten after an hour long drive. Very few cars in the lot. Since we arrived a little behind schedule, we decided to do a reverse loop, with the switchback climb primary.

The switchback climb ends 2.2 miles after the trailhead. Most of the climb is a strenuous elevation gain with very few breaks from the incline. There are, however, trail junctions at which you can take a momentary break. To get a good workout, we completed the uphill climb in 45 minutes. We were drenched in sweat by the time we reached the upper junction.

It wasn't worth going up to Skyline. Trying to get back by 11:30, we turned and started the downhill. The decline had many more unguarded spots (i.e no shade) and a few great views. All of the creeks by the top of the hike are, unfortunately, dried out this time of year.

Most of the decline is a fire road, but the first third of the decline is somewhat narrow and you need to be attentive to the ridges both above and below you. The trail eventually opens up and you'll see more hikers.

The trail is a wonderful, strenuous elevation gain followed by an equally steep, but exponentially easier, descent that offers great views and the option to follow a creek (only recommend that in the winter) to finish the hike.

The base has both stagnant and rushing water. The small creek by the trailhead is clean enough to drink from without purifying (though I don't recommend that!) along with picnic benches. We saw a camp of 15-20 four year olds as we finished the hike (11:00 camp) so beware of that.

In conclusion, this trail is as good as it gets around here! Bonus: dogs are allowed!

2 months ago

Great hike in the shade. Strenuous going up, love that.

3 months ago

4 months ago

10 months ago

Dogs allowed!

11 months ago

1 year ago

Gorgeous hike. We personally hate hiking in direct sunlight- it's hot, drains your energy, and is harsh on your skin. The great thing about this trail? It's 95% shaded for the entire hike. The hike is beautiful, serene, quiet, and the canopy of trees protects you from overheating. We put in about 8 miles here and the hike was a challenge, but felt amazing.

Shaded the whole way, so great for hot days. LOTS OF BUGS. BRING BUG SPRAY.


2 years ago

I love how this scenic park allows dogs. There are so many picnic spots as well.

3 years ago

This was a great, moderately difficult, very shady hike. There are parts that are narrow and you have to be careful.

There are excellent campgrounds at the base and fairly crowded. But as soon as you climb for about 15mins, you are alone in the forest. :)

Which brings me to an important point: this hike is in a fairly forested area and I came across very few hikers. If you are alone, you may want to be alert as there are patches that I thought perhaps a mountain lion maybe around. At one time, I had to stop as I heard some leaves rustling, and after looking around for a min, I noticed it was a deer. It can be a little freaky if you are alone. Ofcourse controlling your mind and thinking is most important. Keep calm and carry on. :)

I would recommend hiking with a friend for this one. Just because you hardly see other hikers as you get high up on the mountain.

Great hike overall.

4 years ago

Amazing hike!!The trail gets narrow so you have to be careful. You can continue to two different trails at the end of sanborn or go back and go thru another one . I went back the same way I came you can make it a all day hike if you wanted. Gorgeous views and there are creeks thru out. I will be back to this trail again!!!

4 years ago

Yes it is shady. Yes it is fairly easy. BUT, it is filled with FLIES!!! I must of ate a dozen or so flies!! Walked thru the Sanborn trail and San Andreas trail, it was a nice hike, you go up an down a creek. Not much wild life were sited... Besides FLIES! You have been warned, bring bug repellent and reapply every half mile, unless you enjoy eating bugs, non stop buzzing in your face and ears. No joke!