Kimberly Gomes

For the first time, South Bay mountain hikers and bikers can explore through Sanborn County Park via its newest addition, John Nicholas Trail. The 10-mile out-and-back trek takes hikers, bikers and equestrians through a peaceful portion of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

This lush trek traverses through oaks and redwoods, boasting plenty of beauty from start to finish. Those looking for a tree-laden stroll can start at the Black Road trailhead and walk about two miles to Lake Ranch Reservoir. If you’re keeping it short, pack a lunch and settle into the waterfront picnic benches. Those looking to continue onto the complete trail can bypass the picnicking and trek onto a moderate 5% grade for about three miles.

Lake Ranch Reservoir; photo credit: Kimberly Gomes

Hikers and bikers can pause for breathers on one of the many log benches, and soak up the tafoni sandstone outcrops along the way. Once you’ve reached the grandest boulder of them all, round the bend and discover a spacious vista point with views stretching from the San Francisco Bay to Mount Diablo.

Vista point; photo credit: Kimberly Gomes

Those hungry for more can continue onto Skyline Trail for an extra 6 miles of forested fun.

Tips before you go: This trail sits in the shade, so pack an extra layer. Unless you like upside down hikes, start at Black Road, enjoy the climb and relish in the view before winding back down.

Check out driving directions here. Bikers eager to explore beyond John Nicholas Trail can take a screenshot or print out the park's map for on the go reference.

Tafoni sandstone outcrop; photo credit: Kimberly Gomes



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