A shady escape for recreation close to Silicon Valley

Photo by Paolo Vescia
Photo by Paolo Vescia

Park Information

HIGHLIGHTS: Mt. Madonna County Park is a sprawling second-growth redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. To the east, the park overlooks the Santa Clara Valley, to the west, Monterey Bay. The park is especially known for horseback riding, hiking, and walk-in and drive-in camping close to Silicon Valley.

ACTIVITIES: Hiking and horseback riding (see the trail map); archery, picnicking and interpretive programs; RV, tent and yurt camping. Group activities by reservation: camping, youth camping and picnicking.

VISITOR CENTER: The visitor center features the natural history, geology and cultural history of the park.

CAMPGROUNDS: 118 drive-in and walk-in campsites in four campgrounds. Seventeen partial hook-up RV sites. Showers are available. Furnished yurts (domed tent-like cabins) can be reserved. Make a reservation.

TRAILS: 14 miles of trails open to hikers and horseback riders (not bicycles). Check the park’s website for trail closures in 2016. A 1-mile self-guided nature trail winds around the ruins of cattle baron Henry Miller’s summer home.

MUST-SEE UNIQUE FEATURE OR SEASONAL HIGHLIGHT: The park’s amphitheater, available by reservation for weddings and other special functions, also features live music and slide shows Memorial Day through Labor Day. These free shows are provided by park docents every Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

HIDDEN GEM: The Giant Twins Trail (one-quarter-mile round trip) leads to two of only four of the park’s ancient redwoods, which were struck by lightning and are hollow. The other two old-growth redwoods are off-trail and unmarked.

FEATURES ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: If you need assistance with an ADA request, please contact the park’s ADA Coordinator.​​​​

DOGS: Dogs are permitted on leash in the park. Pets may not be left unattended or in your vehicle and must be confined at night.

ENTRANCE FEE: $6 per vehicle for day use.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit the park’s website or call 408-335-3293.

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Park Details

Acres Protected by the League: none

Getting There: Driving Directions

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