Sawyer Camp Trail

San Francisco Peninsula Watershed, California

Distance5.9mi
Elevation Gain966ft
Trailhead Elevation572ft
Top616ft
Elevation Min/Max304/616ft
Elevation Start/End572/572ft

Sawyer Camp Trail

Sawyer Camp Trail is a hiking and biking trail in San Mateo County, California. It is within San Francisco Peninsula Watershed. It is 5.9 miles long and begins at 572 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 11.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 966 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. The Caltrans Millbrae Maintenance Station industrial, the Jepson Laurel (elevation 295 feet) attraction, and the San Andreas Lake (elevation 453 feet) reservoir can be seen along the trail. There are also pipelines, a picnic site, drinking water, and a telephone along the trail.

Sawyer Camp Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Though Sawyer Camp Trail is all pavement, it’s immensely popular with all kinds of trail users, especially when the nearby dirt trails are still wet and muddy from rain. You don’t even need a map to follow it, so long as you stay on the paved path. This 6-mile path (12 miles round-trip) is mostly flat, running south to north, paralleling I-280 and a golf course on the east and part of Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir on the west. Starting off in exposed terrain, the trail leads through shady forest near its end at the San Andreas Lake and Dam. Being completely closed to vehicular traffic, it’s a great outing for young families—just be prepared to share the trail with lots of other trail users. There are benches along the way as well as a picnic area at the featured natural attraction: the Jepson Laurel Tree, the oldest, biggest laurel tree in the state. It’s huge and you’re bound to be amazed."

"A historic road of singular beauty extends for 6 miles through the San Francisco Watershed lands past the sparkling San Andreas and Crystal Springs lakes. The road is paved, but open to hikers, equestrians, and bicyclists only. The camp that gave the road its name was in a small flat in the San Andreas Valley where in the 1870s, Leander Sawyer trained performing horses for circuses. Later he ran an inn here for travelers on their way to Half Moon Bay."

"Around the year 1400, considerably before Columbus set sail for America, a particular tree was beginning its life in what is now Northern California. Today that tree, known as the Jepson Laurel, still stands, only now it is passed weekly by thousands of people as they relax and unwind from the tensions of modern life by traversing the Sawyer Camp Trail. The Jepson Laurel is one of the highlights of this casual ride. Be sure to stop at the picnic site along the Sawyer Camp trail to soak up the atmosphere around this famous tree."

"Snaking through the San Andreas Fault’s rift valley, the Sawyer Camp Trail is one of the classic easy hikes on the San Francisco Peninsula. From the dam at San Andreas Lake to the Jepson Laurel, the path accommodates and satisfies thousands of visitors each year. The Sawyer Camp Trail is like your dream guy or gal in trail form—smart, athletic, really good-looking, and, to top it off, just plain nice. No wonder thousands of people hike, bike, or run on it each year. What’s the attraction? Start with the geology: It sits smack atop the San Andreas Fault, the notorious crack in the earth whose 1906 rupture was a defining moment in San Francisco’s colorful history. Rocks on one side of the valley differ drastically from those on the other, as they ride on entirely separate tectonic plates."

"Snaking through the San Andreas Fault’s rift valley, the Sawyer Camp Trail is a classic hike on the San Francisco peninsula. It traces the shoreline of the San Andreas Reservoir and ends at the spectacular Jepson Laurel.

The Sawyer Camp Trail is heralded as one of the most popular on the San Francisco peninsula, and for good reason. It’s eminently pleasant—paved, flat, shady, running alongside water and through fragrant woodlands, and wide enough to share with
other trail users, whether on foot, bicycle, or skates."

Sawyer Camp Trail Reviews

4
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon5 Total
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
7/2/2018
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
2/2/2010
I've done this a few times. I stayed in Millbrae for three months and this trailhead was in walking distance. It's very peaceful and relatively simple. Bring a windbreaker as the trail over the San Andreas Dam is very windy and bitterly cold. Every time I would walk this trail, I would see Deer wandering in the woods.
0
Comments
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
12/6/2008
A great ride if you are looking for an easy cycle path spin or recovery ride - spectacular surroundings and relaxing environment - little to no elevation change and can be done on a road or mountain bike. Can be very busy on weekends and beautiful days and there is a 15m/h speed limit on the trail so don't expect to be burning up the trail. Still remains a favorite anyway. Possible to link it to a ride along Canada Rd to Woodside or do it as a one way and link up to some routes through Burlingame and Hillsborough
0
Comments
3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars3 out of 5 stars
7/19/2008
0
Comments
5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
3/7/2008
I got to run this trail in March ‘08 and it was a real treat. For me, the highlight was stopping to see the 600+ yr old Jepson Laurel tree about midway through the run. The trail is mostly level until approx the 5 mile mark. Then it goes uphill from there. A lot of foot and bicycle traffic, but it thins out the further you go. I would recommend this trail if you’re looking for an interesting place to exercise outdoors whether you live or visit in the San Mateo area.
0
Comments

Sawyer Camp Trail Photos

Trail Information

San Francisco Peninsula Watershed
Nearby City
San Francisco Peninsula Watershed
Parks
Skating
Additional Use
San Mateo County Department of Parks, 455 County Center, 4th Floor, Redwood City, CA 94063; (650) 363-4020; parks.smcgov.org. Contact park rangers for the Crystal Springs Regional Trail by calling (650) 573-2502. The trail runs through the Peninsula Watershed of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission; (415) 544-3289; sfwater.org
Local Contacts
USGS San Mateo; San Mateo County Department of Parks map and guide available at trailhead and online at parks.smcgov.org/sawyer-camp-segment
Local Maps