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!