Explore the most popular forest trails near Gilroy with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We did this today. We went slow and it took us about 4.5 hours. Redwoods are amazing! So peacefull and quiet. We started at sprigs bottom of mount madona. On the way up via the meery go round trail there is a pretty view inthe distance of some gilroy wineries. On the way down on sprigs trail there is a brand new bench. You can not miss it. The redwoods view is spectacular. Enjoy beautifull hike. We did 2000 feet elevation gain but felt good.

a little rigorous for horses

Nice jaunt. A few spots were rather annoying with the elevation change but all in all a good hike. Also had a nice lunch under an old oak tree at the lake. Peaceful and no hum of cars.

Be prepared for multiple creek crossings on Hunting Hollow trail. We saw a mountain lion on the Redfern Trail. Hike on.

Update 3/6/2018

All trails are open again, and equestrians appear to be using the trails. Nice and quiet on a Tuesday morning. Definitely prefer to park on the Gilroy side of the park and hike up Sprig Trail, then end with Merry Go Round Trail on the way back down. Old Mine Trail is worth it for the views.

March 2017

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.

This trail is very close to my home and it is my go-to trail. I really enjoy seeing all the seasons on this trail. It can be too hot when temps go past 95 as there are a few long steep sections with no shade for much of the way. Watch your step as Alligator lizards and small snakes often sun themselves in the sunny sections of the trail and often won’t move until it is too late.

Good trail. Lots of animals: turkeys, wild pigs, dears and cattle. We extended the hike by going down to the valley. This adds 2 miles. The view of the lake has nothing special. The lake was quite low.

backpacking
Sunday, July 23, 2017

This trail will push one to their limit as portions are incredibly steep. The area is stunning with great vistas of ridges and valleys. The trails are not maintained so grasses, tar weed and other weeds will fill one's socks with stickers and tarry goo (summertime). Bobcats, deer, hawks and many other wildlife will be seen. Flat areas for tents are at a premium as this area is steep. Filtered water from the ponds and lakes tastes like rain water. Beautiful but exhausting.

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.

nice trail with wonderful views!

hiking
Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Beautiful! Short hike, down, then up. Great for kids. Stopped to see the white fallow deer afterwards. Also saw lizards and deer in the forest, which the kids enjoyed. Redwoods, ruins, wildlife!

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...

This an awesome trail with great views.

It was hard but did it

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

trail running
Friday, September 02, 2016

I really enjoyed this trail. Also ran Mummy Mountain Trail. Very awesome, however Lake was desolate?

Beautiful I Love it

Nice trails, tall trees, lots of shade..

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).

camping
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

We camped at Coyote Lake and had a great time! The tent and RV sites are not too overly crowded. Restrooms and showers are nice as well.

There are plenty of activities to do: Hiking, boating and fishing. The lake was low when we went which limit the boat activities. Talked to a few people fishing and they mentioned they weren't catching any. We decided to do a lot of hiking! There are dozens of trails there. Be aware - most trails do not have a lot of trees - and it is in Gilroy - so it is HOT! Bring plenty of water. The trails were nicely maintained. There is also benches and tables along most routes.

Had a great time! Hope to come back when it is a little cooler.

hiking
Saturday, July 25, 2015

First overnight trip. Beat the heat by hiking in at night. The dry grassy hills are much more beautiful when lit by the moonlight. I was not expecting it to be so difficult, it was hill after hill and coming down was very steep during the next day. The ponds are very dry and difficult to fish.

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 :)

hiking
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The toughest backpacking trip of my life! 95 degrees and no shelter along the way. Parked at the Ranger station up on Dunne Ave in Morgan Hill. Blazing hot and carry a gallon of water! Very strenuous uphill hike but what else would you expect coming out of an area called 'hell hole!?!" Able to reload water in some areas in the first few miles (before you need it!) but don't count on it. In the July I went, most areas were well dried up or so small, muddy and green you wouldn't want to. After about 12 miles one-way to Coit Lake you reach a great little bass oasis. A 'bass per cast' is no kidding with my little Rapala floater. Too tired to enjoy more than the 15 minutes and 4 nice fish I caught and released, I ate a quick dinner and slept great except for the huge army ants eating my flesh. So hot and a forecast for higher temps, I decided to leave the next morning after breakfast. A route through the "Narrows" sounded good except there was even less water where I thought there would be more along the "river." Totally dry. About 4hrs into the 100+ degree hike, I found myself out of water and standing over a 10' wide green puddle full of minnows and algae. I pumped a couple bottles full, treated with extra extra iodine and soaked a mint teabag to hide the funky flavor. I soaked my feet in the water and the minnows were trying to eat my toes! Creepy feeling but I was ready to hit the trail and make it back to the car. Several incredibly hot and steep miles and at about the time the body was ready to give up, I stumbled to the car and actually lived to tell the story. I dream of the fishing but need an easier way to get there!

Nice short hike with great views of the lake. You can make it 4 miles by starting on the Mendoza trail, taking a right onto the Mummy Mountain trail and then looping back to the parking lot via the coyote ridge trail.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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