Sanborn County Park
Located in the scenic green hills above Saratoga, Sanborn is a fully developed and very popular park. The park's centerpiece is a large, attractive lawn, a perfect spot for a summer barbeque, but there are also tent and RV campgrounds, a nature center, and outdoor Shakespeare performances. A network of trails climbs the wooded hillside; adventurous hikers can hike from here to the Pacific Ocean without ever leaving the trail. For the most part the woods aren't especially scenic, but they include a few second-growth redwood groves, an unusual sight in this area.
A mile from the main developed area, at the beginning of the John Nicholas Trail, is Lake Ranch Reservoir, a pleasant little pond surrounded by wooded hills. Softly quacking ducks paddle around, frogs hop into the water as you pass, and an egret stands guard over it all. It's about a half-mile uphill hike to reach the reservoir, so the location is usually pretty quiet.
The park has a $6 parking fee, but it may be possible to park near the youth hostel for free.
* The Todd Creek Redwoods (5.9 miles, 1570 ft)
* The John Nicholas Trail (7.8 miles, 1530 ft)
© 2010, 2012 David Baselt