Sawyer Ridge P300

Dec 5, 2015
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Sawyer Ridge is seen prominently to the southwest as one drives along I-280 heading to San Francisco. It lies in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, but the ridge and surrounding area is mostly closed to public access. The city of San Francisco uses a trio of manmade lakes between the ridge and the freeway for water storage, the final resting place for Hetch Hetchy water that is pumped across the Central Valley and the Bay Area from Yosemite. The SF Water District allows only limited recreation in this area, primarily restricted to the bike path that runs along the northeast side of the Crystal Springs Reservoirs. There are also docent-led hikes along Cahill Ridge from SR92 as well as other public access areas to the west around Montara Mtn. To access Sawyer Ridge one has to work for the water district or venture in uninvited.

I started from the parking lot for the Crystal Springs Golf Course, following a series of roads through the course down to the NW end of the lower reservoir. As is often the case, fog enshrouded much of the area this morning, lifting some as the hours passed, but never providing for very good views. I went over a gate at the edge of the bike path and down across the end of the reservoir (interestingly, the reservoirs lie in the San Andreas Rift Zone, a fairly straight stretch which gives a pretty good impression of this fascinating geologic formation), past a work yard (quiet on a Saturday, and from the looks of it, most days), and up the road leading to Sawyer Ridge. This road is located along the path of a water tunnel going under Sawyer Ridge, providing access for servicing the tunnels. The road meets the ridge at a junction and it was simply a matter of following the NW branch along the ridge for a couple miles to the highpoint of the ridge. The top is hardly obvious as it is wide and flat and has no clear highpoint. Without marking it on the GPSr, I'd have had trouble locating the correct bump along the ridge. Unfortunately the top does not provide for very good views (even without the fog), but there are some decent views found at various points along the route to it. I was back after about a few hour's effort, really just a leg-stretcher. I had hoped to make a second hike in the Montara Mtn area, but an accident had traffic to Half Moon Bay backed up to the interstate. No thanks, I'd wait for a less-trafficky day to visit...

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