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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.

Great to start on Sprig trail and return via Blackhawk and Ridge trail. The other way is of course a little easier

hiking
13 days ago

We aimed to hike the Ridge Trail to Sprig trail loop, opting to take the Blackhawk Canyon trail at the top of the ridge to enjoy the stream. We were happy we went up the Ridge Trail and descended on the Sprig Trail as they were both very steep ascents with the Sprig trailing seeming to be the more challenging. The blackhawk trail was STUNNING. Short but genuinely the most beautiful portion of the trek. There are some views from the Ridge trail and non from Sprig. At the top, you rim campsites which really detracted from the experience. Overall, I'm happy we did it for the workout and the portion of redwoods on the blackhawk trail that were unforgettable. I agree that it's moderate and enjoyed the workout.

The Sprig trail will work your legs up the 1.5 mile climb to the ridge, but it then levels and drops back down. Great canopy for most of the loop, but Merry Go Round is exposed and more of a fire road. There are several better single track options to get back down to the Sprig trailhead parking lot. Great for dogs, but be mindful of horses.

This is overall a great south county loop. It is a little crowded as far as other parks in this county go: on a Tuesday afternoon I passed a dozen people or so, including the people at the Sprig Recreation Area entrance, which is around the midpoint. This park is also a big horse riding area, but due to the recent rain, it is closed to equestrian traffic, so if you're a rule breaker like me it's a good time to let your dog off leash. This means a lot of the trails are very wide unfortunately. I love the cool, shady canopy and mix of redwoods and laurels on Sprig Trail, and the beautiful, rocky chaparral of Merry-Go-Round. I would recommend taking the loop in the opposite order the title suggests, starting with the Tan Oak Trail via Meadow Trail. The Tan Oak trail will take you to a junction with the Lower Miller Trail where you can see the really cool ruins of the Miller summer place. Legend says the park is haunted by the spirit of 19th century cattle baron Henry Miller's 8-year-old daughter, who fell from her horse and broke her neck while out on a ride. Then the Loop Trail Cut-Off will get you to Merry-Go-Round, which will descend the mountain toward the Santa Clara Valley. It is a more exposed fire road, which makes it nicer to do this direction, followed by the shady, winding climb of Sprig Trail back up to the entrance booth. Tie Camp Trail, which bisects the loop, is currently closed, as is a section of the Blackhawk Trail which is noted on the map.