Mt Madonna County Park

I still have high hopes of finishing the second half of last weekend’s ride report before the earth falls into the sun. In the meantime, I wanted to talk about one particular part of it.

Santa Clara’s Mt. Madonna County Park lies in the redwood forest at the southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains. On a clear day, the summit has great views of both Monterey Bay and of the Santa Clara Valley. Roads leading up to the summit twist and wind through the redwoods; once you’re at the top, you can ride Summit Road for a few miles before encountering some rather unfriendly-looking “private road: no trespassing” signs.

My favorite way to get to Mt Madonna is from the east; I wind up on Watsonville Road heading south towards Hecker Pass Highway (Hwy 152). If I’m on the SVS, I turn west on Hecker Pass Highway to Pole Line Road. Pole Line goes north right through the park.

On the Serow, I turn west on Redwood Retreat Road, which leads up into the redwoods until it meets Mt Madonna Road. The last mile and a half or so is seriously prime dual sport riding. The road turns to packed gravel, then to loose gravel, then to dirt.

It was too wide to include here, but here’s a cool panoramic of the same area.

This section of road is why I wanted a dual sport. I wanted to ride this short, three-mile section between Watsonville Road and the summit of Mt Madonna, and doing it on a dual sport kept a huge grin on my face for the entire stretch.

It’s a one-lane road with very little traffic (I encountered only one car coming towards me, almost immediately after the road changed to dirt). Tree roots grow out of the dirt; rocks and ruts litter the path. Redwoods line the road, casting shadows and adding a vaguely otherworldly sense of quiet.

Just when I thought that the road couldn’t be more perfect, I rounded a corner to find — yes, really — a tall waterfall gently spilling down the side of the hill. I said “you’ve GOT to be kidding me” and pulled to the side.

Too soon, I was at the summit and ready to head down Mt Madonna Road on the western side of the park.

There have to be more dual sport roads like this in the Bay Area. I’ll find them. In the meantime, I’ll continue playing around Mt Madonna County Park, and I highly recommend you do the same.

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3 Responses to Mt Madonna County Park

  1. Bill says:

    I know that road well. If it you thought it was fun, try going down hill on redwood retreat on a 1200 Bandit, in the summer when the road is real silty. ooooh, what fun.
    next time you head into watsonville via 152, let me know, I can show you an alternate way back to San Jose that would be ideal on a Dual Sport
    B12Bill

  2. Eric says:

    GOD That looks beautiful! If any Poofers are interested in seeing a nice portion of my fathers motorcycling life you can click on my name
    below, then click on “The Desert Fox ” to your left. My old man had a very full and rich motorcycling life and I hope those of you who venture there enjoy the pics and articals.

  3. Delacruz says:

    Awesome pics…
    Have you seen the trash that the local residents throw in the hills around? For example, take a look down the hill right where you parked in your very first picture on this page. You will see mattresses, TV sets, dish washers and all sorts of trash thrown down the hill. These mountain folk that live there are just wrong…

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