Sawyer Camp Trail is a segment of the Crystal Springs Regional Trail. For news and advisories see the Crystal Springs Regional Trail main page »
The Sawyer Camp segment of the Crystal Springs Regional Trail extends from Hillcrest Blvd. on the north to Crystal Springs Road on the south, and is probably the best known length of trail in San Mateo County. More people know it and use it than all the other trails in the County Park System.
The trail, which is paved and marked for two-way traffic, is well utilized by bicyclists, hikers, joggers, and equestrians. It is wheelchair accessible. Please note: there are no drinking fountains along this trail. Bring drinking water.
The Sawyer Camp segment has restrooms near its northern and southern access points and about halfway along its length (2.5 miles from the north end of the segment and 3.5 from the south end of the segment). Picnic areas can also be found at the halfway point and near the parking lot off Crystal Springs Road.
Midway along the Sawyer Camp segment is where one will find the 600+ year old Jepson Laurel.
Sawyer - The Man and The Road
It's unknown from whom Leander Sawyer bought the land, but he became active in this area in 1853. He probably lived in a small adobe built near a natural spring in the hill, just southwest of the Laurel. This was remembered by some very old timers of the area. No trace of it remains today.
The Sawyer Camp Trail was Sawyer's access to his camp (south of the Laurel tree) where old timers say he kept an inn to dispense food to picnickers, and to serve as lodging for horsemen traveling through the area. Later, the trail was used by the stagecoach from Millbrae, which connected with the San Mateo Stageline to Half Moon Bay (Spanish Town). During the 1850's and 60's, Sawyer grazed cattle in the area to keep down the brush and make a better area for incoming wagons.
Sawyer Camp Trail, later called San Andreas Valley Road, or simply Valley Road, was once the main highway between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay. Wagons pulled by teams of horses hauled wood over the road. Much of the old road was flooded by Crystal Springs Reservoir by 1888.
When the city of San Francisco took over the watershed lands, narrow, winding Sawyer Camp Trail was then a county road. The Water Department fenced it for the protection of San Francisco's drinking water. In 1978, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors designated the road a non-vehicular recreation trail and paved it for bicycles with funds provided by the State Department of Parks and Recreation.
See the complete Crystal Springs Trail Map.