Saratoga Gap Trail

Castle Rock State Park, California

Distance5.4mi
Elevation Gain1,638ft
Trailhead Elevation2,626ft
Top2,729ft
Elevation Min/Max2488/2729ft
Elevation Start/End2626/2626ft

Saratoga Gap Trail

Saratoga Gap Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Santa Cruz County and Santa Clara County, California. It is within San Lorenzo Headwaters Natural Preserve, Upper Stevens Creek County Park, Saratoga Gap Open Space Preserve, and Castle Rock State Park. It is 5.4 miles long and begins at 2,626 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,638 feet. Castle Rock State Park Main Entrance and other parkings are near the trailhead. There are also an information guidepost, information maps, information boards, and parkings. Russel Point, Emily Smith Observation Point, and another viewpoint, the Cal Fire CZU Station 21 - Saratoga Summit fire station, and the Main Camp site can be seen along the trail. There are also cliffs, benches, a shelter, drinking waters, and a waste basket along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Travertine Springs Trail, Frog Flat Trail, Skyline To The Sea Trail, Inner Connector Trail, Ridge Trail, Castle Rock Trail, Hickory Oaks Trail and Charcoal Road.

Saratoga Gap Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Bay Area Mountain Bike Trails (Penngrove Publications)
Conrad Boisvert
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"At the top of the mountains above the town of Saratoga lie Saratoga Gap and Long Ridge Open Space Preserves and Skyline County Park. The areas all connect to each other and contain wonderful mountain biking trails with great variety and fabulous views. While the ride itself is relatively short and the total elevation gain is reasonably modest, the trails are quite narrow in some places and frequently have steep drop-offs to the side. Sharp switchbacks should be taken with care and some walking may be required." Read more
Mountain Biking the San Francisco Bay Area (Falcon Guides)
Lorene Jackson
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"This is some of the most easily accessible singletrack in the Bay Area. The price is sharing the trail with lots of other bikers, hikers, and equestrians, especially on weekends. Much of the ride is in the cool shade of oak, madrone, and Douglas fir woodlands. Whenever you leave the trees for the grass-covered ridge, you have a panoramic view of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Pacific Ocean before you. This ride is just plain fun. Trail surface: 70 percent singletrack and 30 percent dirt road." Read more

Saratoga Gap Trail Reviews

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9/2/2012
Nice single track through the Saratoga Gap park and world-class views on the Long Ridge trail. Elevation gain for the distance is modest.
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5/26/2011
Fabulous ride, nice mix of exposed and shaded. The Peter's Creek Trail portion is great single track.
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9/13/2009
An excellent trail in many respects with stretches of gorgeous well maintained single track, rolling hills and great scenery. I was there on a Tuesday and didn't see another soul. The ride isn't a classic in my opinion due to the unbalanced nature of it. The final few miles are all uphill, much of it on fireroads. I'm not opposed to hills but after rolling single track it's an unpleasant shift to have to suffer for miles of uphill climb without respite. Just takes you out of the otherwise wonderful aesthetics of this ride. Nevertheless - a very good ride. I would do it again.
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8/10/2008
I did a variation of this today - along Long Ridge trail rather than Peter's Creek trail. Great ride with lots of contrast - the stretch up Table Mountain trail isn't that bad but Charcoal Trail is a killer! Would definitely recommend the trail - I believe it gets quite busy but I was mad enough to do it midday and didn't come across too many people. VERY dry at the moment so traction can be difficult
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10/7/2002
This loop is fun and exciting. There''s great singletrack, fun fireroads, technical sections and a good amount of climbing. If you ride during the week, you might not see another human, although deer are quite abundant!
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8/16/2001
Ah, the Saratoga Gap/Long Ridge Trail...what can you say? It's one of the BEST trails in the south bay. Sure you may have one you like more, but this trail has it all...winding single track, open fire roads, and scenic views. There's a minimal amount of climbing since the trail borders the top of a ridge. Once you cross Skyline Blvd. the trail crosses open grassy hills allowing you to take in views all the way to the coast on a clear day. There are some forks along the way after that. Take the Peter's Creek fork for a few single-track switchbacks and then a fast straightaway fire road. It's easy to pass by if your moving too quickly. It has kind of a Bat Cave entrance on your right. The trail can be sloppy in winter and may even be closed until the trails dry in spring. Bring a windbreaker unless you're sure it's going to be a perfect day. Fall through spring can be quite chilling even if it's nice in the valley.
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10/27/2000
This is a really fun trail for the intermediate rider. You can run through the lower loop a couple of times without killing yourself on the climbs. Plenty of singletrack with a few little switchbacks. Very scenic trail with most of the ride taking place under the tree canopy. The climbs aren't too bad and are spread out enough to really enjoy the entire ride.
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Saratoga Gap Trail Photos

Trail Information

Castle Rock State Park
Nearby City
Upper Stevens Creek County Park
Parks
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Park District
Local Contacts
USGS Mindego Hill
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018