Welcome to Mt. Madonna County Park, one of the most majestic of Santa Clara County's regional park and recreation areas. This 3,688 acre park is dominated by the redwood forest so characteristic of the Santa Cruz Mountain range. To the east, the park overlooks the Santa Clara Valley, to the west, Monterey Bay. As the slopes of Mt. Madonna descend toward the valley, the landscape changes from redwood forest to oak woodland, dense chaparral and grassy meadows. Park visitors may learn about areas where Ohlone Indians hunted and harvested, and will understand why cattle baron Henry Miller spent his summers here. Enjoy your visit today, and return often to the pristine redwood forest of Mt. Madonna County Park. Mt Madonna Stables offers horseback trail rides, it is a wonderful way to explore the beauty of this park. The park is located on Highway 152 (Hecker Pass Highway), ten miles west of Gilroy. From the east, use Highway 101, and take the Highway 152 West exit. From the west, use Highway 1, and take the Highway 152 East exit. The entrance to the park is located at the summit of Highway 152 at Pole Line Road.
This local South County trail is a gem. This review only pertains to the Sprig Lake Trail, which begins in the parking lot on Hwy 152 E. The trail is a steep ascent up to the campground and is only 1.8 miles up. It is a great option for a quickie that will get your cardio racing and the turnaround at the campsites is where this review ends. You can complete the loop with the Merry-Go-Round and others that you create back to the parking lot. Not one for little ones, due to the steepness, but 4 legged friends in trail shape will do fine and be tuckered out the rest of the day. Also a great choice for hot days, as the entire route is under the canopy of hardwood and redwoods. Awesome in the rainy moths as it stays fairly dry in the rain due to the trees and the forest scent is intense thanks to the native Bay Laurel trees. Lace up and go...
Beautiful, did this trail Friday of the labor day weekend, beauty is definitely more than skin deep. from the approach to the park, the redwoods provoking excitement, the majestic redwoods the smell the look the taste, the strength in the quite of the forest, beautiful
Started at Miller House to Loop (S), to Ridge (W), to Sprig (E), to Blackhawk Canyon (W) and back up Ridge and Loop to parking lot. Blackhawk Canyon was the nicest, most serene part of this trail (though currently closed for landslide maintenance, it's easy enough to walk around the gate...). Westbound on Blackhawk is a relentless uphill, and a good workout. Most of the trails around this park were fairly disappointing, mostly because they are wide, flat and boring. Stick to the dotted, hiking only trails if you want a better feel, better scenery, and don't want to dodge horse poop every few inches (EXCESSIVE amounts of it plague this park).
I live a few miles away and go here weekly or so. To me the best hike for moderate hour and a half or so is to park at sprig lake (not a lake) on the gilroy side near the bottom of the hill. Head to the right side, all the way to the merry-go-round trail, and work your way across the main section of the park to the front trail (can't recall) that ends immediately in front of where you parked. Good scenery, changes in surroundings and changes in intensity. I see there's a meetup here later this week from the valley- maybe I'll crash the party or say hello :)
The Bay View trail is a great family trail. Well marked at all the junctions with other trails, the entire trail is through redwoods with some beautiful canyons and a great overlook of the Watsonville area all the way to Monterey Bay. Gentle inclines and declines throughout with one steep, but short, section if you loop around onto the East Bay View Trail back towards the entrance to the park. Restrooms and water at the picnic area at the trail head.