The Santa Cruz Mountains have lovely pockets of fall color: at Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge RR in Felton, at Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Boulder Creek and along Skyline Drive.
Sanborn County Park (Santa Clara County Parks District) is an oft-overlooked location to spot bucolic color. It’s found by taking Skyline Blvd./Hwy 35 from Patchen Pass to Saratoga Gap.
Color spotter Leor Pantilat scores a first report for this location and reports that along the way, “You’ll drive through some fantastic sections of yellow and orange bigleaf maples. The bigleafs are the best they have been in years after slightly above normal precipitation last winter (bigleafs like water).”
He opines, “In the preceding drought years a good deal of the leaves fell prematurely before turning. Black oak is also peaking with California hazelnut providing some extra color in the understory. At this location the peak should continue for another week or so… until the next winds blow through.
The park has over 22 miles of trails. Hike of the Week is the Lake Ranch Trail, a shaded, easy hike between Lake Ranch and Black Road.
Sanborn County Park, Santa Cruz Mountains – Peak (75-100%) GO NOW!