When the big one hit back in 1906, Sanborn County Park was right in the crosshairs: The 3,600-acre park just west of Saratoga lies smack on top of the San Andreas fault. Cracks opened 5 to 6 feet deep, creeks were diverted and landslides created havoc. A 4-mile roundtrip loop hike will put you in the center of the shifts in landscape that resulted from the quake. Starting from the main staging area, the Sanborn Trail passes pleasant walk-in campsites on the bank of Aubry Creek. The next 2 miles is a steady, leg-burning 1,200-foot climb through thickly forested madrone and maple woodlands. Finish by descending the aptly named San Andreas Trail. The final stretch, a pine-needle-carpeted trail, weaves under towering redwoods.
TIP: Although you may not want to say it too loudly, Savannah Chanelle Winery sits right on top of the San Andreas fault. Their tasting room is a bona fide old redwood barn built in 1912. Step inside and try their award-winning pinot noirs.
From the staging area, take the Sanborn Trail up through the walk-in campground. Continue uphill on the Sanborn Trail for 2 miles. When you reach an unmarked T intersection, make a right. After a few hundred feet, you’ll reach the San Andreas Trail where you’ll make a right and go 1.8 miles back down to the parking area. Consider printing a map of Sanborn County Park beforehand. Dog-friendly!