Brendan Aiello

Sawyer Camp Trail in San Mateo County

Crystal Springs Reservoir in San Mateo, CA

Hey Folks,

Recently doctor”s orders required me to start exercising more. Although, I live in a beautiful neighborhood (San Mateo Park) to can walk/run/bike in, I wanted the ability to better track how far I am running, walking and bicycling. I also wanted a change of scenery.

I decided to give Sawyer Camp Trail a try, as I hadn”t been there in over 15 years. For convienence, I start at the entrance in San Mateo on at the top of Cystal Springs Road.

After getting 100 feet into the 7-mile trail, I felt like I was in another country. The shear beauty from the local scenery amazed me. The trail is set along side the Crystal Springs Reservoir and the green hills between San Mateo and Pacifica/Half Moon Bay. While at times this area can get a little foggy, the weather is currently beautiful out there.

You are joined by all levels of outdoor fitness runners, cyclists, and walkers. The signs even say that the trail is open to horses but, attention equestrians: I would steer -clear of here due to Doctors who scored well have gotten raises of more than $40,000 on top of round-the-clock nursing assistance for their sickest and riskiest patients, according to physicians and the health insurance company. the bicyclists that fly around this area. Although they are supposed to stay under 15 mph and give right of way to horses and runners, I would imagine a horse could get spooked very easily out there.

The trail does have bathrooms. They are far and few between and pretty-much glorified port-o-pottiesSawyer Camp Trail Sign At Hayne Road in Hillsborough. The trail is made of black asphalt and is relatively well maintained. Due to joint issues and injury prevention some people run on the dirt right next to the asphalt trail. However; the county kindly asks, that you don”t stray from the general trail area. This area is a total of seven (7) miles long and there are posts every half (.5) mile to track your progess. Towards the end of the trail (San Bruno side) there is a decent incline but the first 4 miles of the San Mateo side are realitively flat. The water views end a little before the 3 mile mark.

Another thing to remember is that the trail does not have any water fountains, so if you think you may need h2o to keep you going, pack your own. Trail hours are liberly defined as “from sunrise to sunset” so don”t plan a 7 mile run 10 minutes before sunset or you will get left in the dark as there is no lighting on the trial. Also as a reminder you might remember that there was a mountain lion attack on this trail a few years back.

I hope you found all this imformation helpful. Feel free to provide your own information and experiences for other readers and/or leave questions and comments for me.

For more information, pictures  & trail maps – please visit the offical sawyer camp trial webpage.


Historica Sawyer Camp Trail Sign at Crystal Springs Road

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45 Responses to “Sawyer Camp Trail in San Mateo County”

  1. Jolio@portable sink on September 14th, 2009 8:06 am

    I love camping for the reason that you find really neat trails to walk/run and climb on. It sounds like Sawyer Camp Trail is fantastic, i absolutely love that first picture in your blog!

    The lack of portable toilets and water is kinda sucky, but if you use the portable toilets you mentioned and brought a couple water bottles maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

    Thanks for the review, this makes me want to pack up and run away to a nice park for the weekend! :)

  2. Brendan Aiello on September 14th, 2009 9:13 am

    Hey Jolio,

    Thank you so much for the compliment on my picture; I took it myself with a old crummy camera. There are toilets there, just no water. Camelback backpacks and other water bottles designed for running.

    Although they don’t offer camping there is great picnic areas to enjoy a pre-packed lunch!


  3. Ed Gory on September 14th, 2009 11:10 am

    Great post, Brendan. I’ve always loved running there. Have seen coyotes before, but thankfully no mountain lions. FYI, there’s a water fountain between the 5.5 and 6 mile mark, on the Millbrae end (it’s at the crest of the hill right before the downward descent to the 6 mile marker and gate)…Ed
    .-= Ed Gory´s last blog ..Interesting Market Share Data — Who Sold What Mortgages So Far =-.

  4. Brendan Aiello on September 14th, 2009 11:58 am

    Hey Ed,

    Thanks for coming by and checking out the blog! Luckily, I’ve only seen deer.

    Thank you for the great tip on the water fountain. I usually stop at the 3, 3.5, or the 4 mile mark. But if I ever take my bike out there that water fountain will definitely come in handy!


  5. Mary on November 1st, 2009 8:30 pm

    Today I was taking a relaxed bike ride from the Millbrae entrance to the Skyline Gate entrance. South of the Jepson Laurel I stopped were you can see the Cr;ystal Springs Reservoir. It’s very open, no trees over head and a real nice view of the lake. I was taking some pictures when I heard behind me a whistle being blown. I couldn’t see anything because there was a bend in the road. Just after the whistle a couple of joggers came around the corner and told me they heard a mountain lion growling not far off the road on the east side of the trail. It was they that had blown the whistle. This was about 2 pm on a perfectly pleasant day! Needless to say I moved on.

  6. Dave@Bike Routes on January 14th, 2010 12:44 pm

    Mountain bike camping is the best. You could end up hundreds of miles from civilisation, it’s such a buzz!
    .-= Dave@Bike Routes´s last blog ..How To Get a Free PS3 =-.

  7. Dave@Bike Routes on February 14th, 2010 7:26 am

    Is that place in the photo where you live? You are lucky! What a great place to get out and about on a mountain bike.

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