Sprig Trail, Merry-Go-Round, and Tan Oak Trail Loop

MODERATE 34 reviews

Sprig Trail, Merry-Go-Round, and Tan Oak Trail Loop is a 8.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Gilroy, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1916 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

Hike past redwoods and the ruins of a land baron's mansion at this park south of San Jose. Mount Madonna County Park is one of the most popular camping destinations in Santa Clara County, and this route is one of the best ways to see all the park has to offer. Sprig Lake trail passes all three of the park's major campgrounds, and makes a scenic ascent (or descent) through one of the prettiest stands of redwoods in the park. Another section of this route passes a pen of captive white fallow deer, then continues through the ruins of the summer house of Henry Miller, a Gold Rush-era land baron whose properties stretched from the Bay Area to Mexico. The last link is the popular Merry-Go-Round Trail connecting to the Sprig Lake Recreation Area (the lake is long gone, but the trails remain.)

hiking
1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

walking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

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.

hiking
5 months ago

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...

hiking
7 months ago

This an awesome trail with great views.

hiking
7 months ago

It was a challenging hike but very fun. If you go over the small barbed wire fence there is a cute little gazebo with a lake.

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

It was hard but did it

hiking
9 months ago

It was a good hike...a lot of horse $4!t!! LOL

9 months ago

10 months ago

Beautiful I Love it

hiking
10 months ago

horseback riding
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Nice trails, tall trees, lots of shade..

hiking
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sunday, May 01, 2016