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Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop

Mount Madonna County Park

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

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Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop

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  • Redwoods, live oak, madrone, and pines are all at home in Mount Madonna County Park.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • The loop begins as an easy, shaded walk.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • A the path follows a dry creek.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • The beginning of the loop. The Ridge Trail is to the left and the Merry-Go-Round leaves from the right.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • You'll find an abundant variety of wildflowers along this hike.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • The fog rolling down from the summit of Mount Madonna.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • Sections of the trail become steep as they wind through the forest.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • The trails are well marked throughout.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • A beautiful hike through Mount Madonna Park.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • The fog line at the summit.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • - Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • Fantastic viewpoint from Mount Madonna.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • Fantastic views from the top of Mount Madonna.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • - Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • The trailhead and rules of the park.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • The parking lot off of Highway 152.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
  • Horse trailer parking lot.- Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fantastic views. Very low congestion.
Cons: 
No available drinking water.
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Region:
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
800.00 ft (243.84 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
375.00 ft (114.30 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

If you wish to avoid the campers, parking fees, and the thick blankets of fog at Mount Madonna County Park, Sprig Lake Day Use Area is a great alternative. Located right off Highway 152, it's a short drive from either Gilroy or Watsonville. Though the lake has dried up, the area is still a great spot for hikes. The Merry-Go-Round and Ridge Trail Loop extends north from the Sprig Lake Day Use area, and it is a moderate to strenuous hike that climbs through the lower portion of the park. You have the option to break away from this trail and continue into the main portion of the park if you wish. 

Hikers, joggers, nature lovers, and equestrians will all find terrain to explore here (the area is closed to mountain bikers). The entire loop, including the Old Mine Extension, is about 4 miles long. Half of the trails are shaded by redwood, madrone, and live oak trees, while the other half is in full sun with grassy planes, wildflowers, and great views. Quite often you can see the fog line stop at the summit of Mount Madonna, which makes for amazing scenery. If you are looking for a strenuous and scenic hike, you should definitely consider Mount Madonna County Park!

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Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(94 within a 30 mile radius)

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