Staying with relatives in San Mateo we asked if there was a scenic area nearby that we could walk/cycle through and they suggested we might enjoy the Sawyer Camp Trail. This trail is a 6 mile segment of the Crystal Springs Regional Trail (which comprises of 3 segments – San Andreas, Sawyer Camp, and Crystal Springs). Borrowing some bikes we cycled out along Crystal Springs Road to the start of the Sawyer Camp entrance and met a really helpful ranger who just happened to be doing some work there. He pulled out a guide/map for us and was so friendly and informative. This particular trail is very popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists of all ages.
The scenery was amazing with views of the Crystal Springs Reservoir and the Peninsula Watershed and there is also a bit of an added thrill knowing that you are cycling parallel to the San Andreas Fault!!! The Crystal Springs and the San Andreas Reservoirs actually fill a rift valley formed by the San Andreas Fault. Both reservoirs hold water captured from the Peninsula Watershed and these reservoirs supply water to San Francisco and the Peninsula area. There are a few restrooms along the route and plenty of benches to stop off for a rest and admire the scenery. The wildlife is plentiful and we saw lots of deer, various birds and squirrels. The trail is also home to the Jepson Laurel which at over 600 years old is the oldest Laurel in California. The cycle ride through the trail is fairly easy and our hardest part was after leaving the trail when we had to cycle uphill back to where we were staying.
The trail is named after Leander Sawyer who owned land there and he kept an inn there which had lodgings and also served food to picnickers and horsemen and stagecoaches travelling through the area. There was a stagecoach road running through the valley that stopped in this area on its daily run from San Mateo to Half Moon Bay.
We had a great time there and can see why it is such a popular place.