Mt Madonna Camping

Getting to Mt. Madonna County Park

Mt Madonna County Park is conveniently situated at 7850 Pole Line Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076. The park is easily accessible from both east and west. From the east, take Highway 101 and exit at Highway 152 West. From the west, use Highway 1 and take the Highway 152 East exit. The park entrance is located at the summit of Highway 152 at Pole Line Road.

Mt. Madonna County Park

Welcome to the majestic Mt. Madonna County Park, one of the most impressive regional parks and recreational areas in Santa Clara County. Covering a vast area of 4,605 acres, this park is characterized by its dominant redwood forest, a signature feature of the Santa Cruz Mountain range.

Historical and Cultural Significance

Mt. Madonna is a haven for nature lovers and a rich historical and cultural significance site. Visitors can learn about the areas where the Ohlone Indians once hunted and harvested and discover why the renowned cattle baron Henry Miller chose this serene location as his summer retreat.

Scenic Vistas and Diverse Landscapes

As you venture through the park, you will be met with panoramic views of the Santa Clara Valley to the east. And on the other side (west), You get Monterey Bay. The landscape changes remarkably as you descend the slopes of Mt. Madonna, transitioning from redwood forest to oak woodland, dense scrub, and finally, to grassy meadows.

Horseback Riding at Mt. Madonna Stables

To fully appreciate the beauty of Mt. Madonna County Park, consider exploring the park on horseback. The Mt. Madonna Stables offers horseback trail rides, presenting a unique opportunity to discover the park’s many charming trails and scenic spots.

Related: Camping at Jefferson Notch Road in the White Mountains

Forest Health Improvement Initiatives

County Parks is dedicated to improving the health and safety of the natural forest at Mt. Madonna. This commitment is evident in the various tree trimming and removal projects planned for this year. Throughout the Summer of 2023, extending into Fall 2024, work will be undertaken in several locations within the park as part of the Mt. Madonna Forest Health Plan.

Your Patience is Appreciated

You may observe people and equipment actively involved in the forest health plan during your stay. These activities are integral to enhancing the long-term health and vitality of the Mt. Madonna Forest. During this time, we highly appreciate your patience and understanding, as these projects play a crucial role in preserving the park’s natural beauty and biodiversity.

Returning to the Redwoods

We invite you to enjoy your visit today and often return to the pristine redwood forest of Mt. Madonna County Park. Each visit promises new experiences and the chance to deepen your appreciation for nature’s wonders.

Explore the Extensive Trail System

The park boasts an extensive 14-mile trail system that hikers and equestrians can explore. It’s a great opportunity to experience the park’s diverse landscapes, from the redwood forest to the grassy meadows.

Horseback Trail Rides at Mt. Madonna Stables

For a unique way to discover the park, consider a horseback trail ride offered by Mt. Madonna Stables. It’s a wonderful way to traverse the trails and experience the park’s natural beauty.

Related: Mount Laguna Camping

Discovering the Ruins of Henry Miller’s Summer Home

A one-mile self-guided nature trail winds around the remnants of cattle baron Henry Miller’s summer home. Walking this trail offers a glimpse into the park’s rich history.

Archery at Mt. Madonna

The park boasts a beautiful range for those interested in honing their archery skills. It’s a unique way to engage with the outdoors and learn a new skill.

Special Functions at the Park’s Amphitheater

The park’s amphitheater is available for reservation for weddings and other special functions. It’s a picturesque location for memorable events.

Exploring the Visitor Center

The visitor center is a must-visit for those interested in the park’s natural history, geology, and cultural history.

Camping at Mt. Madonna

Mt. Madonna overnight camping is the most popular. Visitors can choose from 116 drive-in and walk-in reservable campsites spread throughout four campgrounds. Each campsite has a barbecue pit, food locker, and picnic table. The park also offers 29 partial hookup RV sites and yurts for reservation. Check [here](link to the website) for more information about tent, yurt, and RV camping!

Picnic Areas and Group Reservations

Shaded picnic areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Group picnics, group camping, and youth camping areas can be reserved in advance.

Public Programs and Events

For information about public programs and events at Mount Madonna and other Santa Clara County Parks, check the Events Calendar. It’s a great way to engage with the park’s community and participate in special activities.

Campground Amenities at Mt Madonna

Mt Madonna campgrounds offer a variety of amenities designed to make your camping experience comfortable and enjoyable. There are tent and RV camping sites, many equipped with picnic tables, fire rings, and nearby restroom facilities. Some sites also provide electrical hookups for added convenience. Showers and potable water are readily accessible. The park offers a dump station for RV campers, and firewood is available for purchase onsite.

How to Book Your Campsite

Booking your campsite at Mt Madonna is simple and can be done online through the Santa Clara County Parks website. Select your desired dates and the type of campsite you prefer, then follow the prompts to complete your reservation. Remember to book well in advance, especially during peak camping season or on holidays, as the campsites can fill up quickly.

A Photographic Journey through Mt Madonna Camping

A camping trip to Mt Madonna provides a wealth of photographic opportunities. The towering redwoods and sprawling meadows create a beautiful backdrop for landscape photography. The early morning fog often lends a mystical aura to the park, while sunset can bathe everything in a warm, golden light. Wildlife sightings, from deer to a diverse range of birds, can offer fantastic nature photography opportunities. With their rustic charm, the campgrounds can also make for compelling subject matter. Regardless of your photography style, you’ll leave Mt Madonna with a rich image collection that captures your camping adventure.

Food and Drink Options around Mt Madonna

In the vicinity of Mt Madonna, you’ll find various food and drink options to satisfy your palate. The nearby town of Watsonville offers a range of restaurants serving everything from local Californian fare to international cuisine. For fresh produce, the Watsonville Farmers Market is a popular choice. If you want to venture further, you can sample the renowned garlic dishes in Gilroy or savor fresh seafood along the Monterey Bay coast. Don’t forget the region’s wineries, where you can taste some of California’s finest wines.

Eco-Friendly Camping at Mt Madonna

Camping at Mt Madonna offers an excellent opportunity to practice eco-friendly habits. Follow ‘Leave No Trace principles, which include disposing of waste properly, respecting wildlife, and minimizing campfire impact. The park encourages recycling and provides appropriate bins. Bringing reusable items like water bottles, cutlery, and plates can help reduce waste. To protect local ecosystems, the park prohibits the introduction of outside firewood. Instead, firewood is available for purchase onsite. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your camping trip while minimizing your environmental footprint.

The Beauty of Mt Madonna – Natural Features

Nestled within the Santa Cruz Mountain Range, Mt Madonna is a veritable paradise for nature lovers. Its enchanting natural features include lush redwood forests, sprawling oak woodlands, and chaparral-filled valleys. The park also boasts panoramic views of Monterey Bay; on a clear day. A diverse assortment of wildlife calls Mt Madonna home, adding to the park’s charm. Whether hiking, picnicking or simply soaking in the serene atmosphere, Mt Madonna’s beauty will surely leave you amazed.

Safety Precautions for Mt Madonna Camping

Camping at Mt Madonna offers an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, but prioritizing safety is important. Secure all food and trash, as the scent can attract wildlife to your campsite. Check for fire restrictions before lighting a campfire; always have water nearby to extinguish it. Stick to marked hiking trails to avoid getting lost or encountering unsafe terrain. Remember that weather conditions change quickly, so pack appropriate clothing and gear. In an emergency, know the location of the nearest ranger station.

Exploring the Nearby Attractions – Beyond the Campsite

While Mt. Madonna County Park itself offers a myriad of recreational opportunities, there are plenty of attractions nearby that are worth exploring. The word “Garlic Capital of the World” is just a short drive away and hosts the famous Gilroy Garlic Festival every summer. For beach lovers, the stunning shores of Monterey Bay are within reach. History buffs might enjoy visiting the historic town of Watsonville, which features several historic buildings and landmarks. If you’re up for more driving, you can even venture out to the bustling cities of San Jose or Santa Cruz for a dose of urban excitement.

Related: Stealth Camping Tent


Are dogs allowed at Mount Madonna campsites?

Yes, dogs are allowed at the campsites in Mount Madonna County Park. However, they must always be kept on a leash and are not permitted in some areas.

Where is Mt Madonna, California?

Mt Madonna is located in Santa Clara County, California. It is part of the Santa Cruz Mountain Range and is near the city of Watsonville. The park’s address is 7850 Pole Line Road, Watsonville, CA, 95076.

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What time does Mount Madonna County Park open?

Mount Madonna County Park typically opens at 8 a.m. However, checking the park’s official website or calling directly for the most current and accurate information is always a good idea.

Where is Mt Madonna County Park located?

Mt Madonna County Park is near Watsonville in Santa Clara County, California.

What are the park’s operating hours?

Mt Madonna County Park is typically open from 8 a.m. until sunset. However, for the most accurate and up-to-date information, please refer to the park’s official website or contact the park directly.

How can I reserve a campsite at Mt Madonna County Park?

You can reserve a campsite online via the Santa Clara County Parks website. You can also call the park directly to make a reservation. It’s recommended to book well in advance, particularly for weekends and holidays, as the campground can fill up quickly.

What amenities are available at the campsites?

Mt Madonna County Park offers both tent and RV camping. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms, showers, and potable water. Some sites also provide electrical hookups.

Are pets allowed in the campground?

Pets are allowed, but there might be specific areas where pets are not allowed, so please check with the park’s rules and regulations.

Can I bring my firewood?

A6: No, outside firewood is not permitted to prevent the spread of pests and diseases. Firewood can be purchased onsite.

Is there any wildlife I should be aware of?

The park is home to various wildlife, including deer, raccoons, and various species of birds. Always remember to secure your food and trash to prevent attracting wildlife to your campsite.

Related: San Carpoforo Creek Beach

Can I camp at Mt Madonna County Park all year round?

Yes, camping is available year-round. However, the weather can vary greatly throughout the year, so checking the forecast before your visit is a good idea.

Are there any fees associated with camping at Mt Madonna County Park?

Yes, camping fees depend on the type of campsite you reserve. For the most current fee structure, it’s best to check the park’s official website or call it directly.


My name is Evelyn and I started Camping The Camp to combine my love of the outdoors with my background in environmental science. I hope you’ll find helpful as you discover the joys of camping. It’s more than a weekend trip - it’s a chance to disconnect from devices, reconnect with loved ones, and make memories to last a lifetime

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