Popular Saratoga hiking trail reopens after project to improve safety, reduce erosion

Wider trails and new switchbacks make Saratoga's Parker Ranch Trail a safer place in rainy seasons. (Photo: Whitney Mountain)

A Saratoga hiking trail has reopened after a six-month, $60,000 project to make it wider, less steep and not as prone to erosion during the rainy season.

Mayor Kathleen King cut the ceremonial ribbon Nov. 19 to signify the revival of Parker Ranch Trail, which stretches from the Parker Ranch neighborhood to the Fremont Older Open Space Preserve via Saratoga Country Club. “Because it was really steep and eroded, people stopped using it,” said Iveta Harvancik, a senior city engineer.

The initial planning began four years ago, when public works officials and Saratoga’s Pedestrian, Equestrian, and Bicycle Trails Committee decided that for trail to remain popular — and safe — it needed improvements. It was “very narrow and you had to kind of go under a lot of bushes,” King said. “I don’t think many of us were doing it with our kids.”

Now, “this will be more of a family affair,” the mayor said.

King Grading did the reconstruction in two phases: first the Upper Tank Trail and then the Lower Tank Trail. Not only are the new paths less steep but also “sloped sideways, so the water running down the hill hits the trail and continues down the hill, not along the trail,” Harvancik said.

On the Upper Tank Trail, “major relocation was necessary to follow the natural contours,” Harvancik said. “[The] Lower Tank Trail section was repaired due to erosion, and some switchbacks were added to minimize the steep grade.”

The city and the committee had to obtain permission from Upper Tank Trail property owners: the Saratoga Country Club and the Parker Ranch Homeowners Association.

“It (took) a lot of documentation, preparation and council approvals,” Harvancik said. “So it was a pretty complex project — not difficult, just time-consuming.”

After cutting the ribbon, Mayor King joined others on a hike led by Denise Goldberg, chairwoman of the Pedestrian, Equestrian, and Bicycle Trails Commission, to reacquaint residents with the trail.

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2 thoughts on “Popular Saratoga hiking trail reopens after project to improve safety, reduce erosion”

  1. The trail is not conducive to bicycle riding. It is primarily used as a pedestrian and equestrian trail.

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