In Watsonville, California you'll find a 4,605-acre recreation area known as the Mount Madonna County Park. This area showcases the incredible redwood trees that dominate the Santa Cruz Mountain Range, and it offers visitors a variety of activities to enjoy in the park. Inside the park, you can take in a show at the park's amphitheater, take a horseback ride through the park, practice your archery skills, camp, picnic, or explore the 14-mile trail system within Mount Madonna County Park.
Dogs are permitted on all trails within the park as long as they're on a leash. You and your pooch will have several paths to choose from, including the 0.3-mile Iron Springs Trail, the four-mile Tie Camp Loop, or the 6.1-mile White Deer Loop that takes you to Mount Madonna's summit. The White Deer Loop will take more than three hours to complete, and during that time, you'll climb about 1,500 feet. This hike takes you past the pen of white fallow deer which are fun to look at, but please don't feed them. During your trek, you'll pass through densely forested areas, but once you reach the summit, you'll be rewarded with incredible views.
Visitors can also choose to hike the one-mile self-guided nature trail that takes you around Henry Miller's summer home, a historical figure who was known as the "Cattle King of California." You can also hike the Giant Twins Trail, a 0.25-mile hike that will lead you to two of the park's four ancient redwoods that were hollowed out after being struck by lightning.
While daily parking will cost you $6, you can also purchase an annual permit for $95 if you plan on making multiple visits to the park. Hikers are encouraged to pack extra layers -- because all of the shade provided by the redwoods, you may get quite chilly during your visit.Whether you and your dog hike a short trail together or make a longer journey, the two of you will love exploring all of the natural beauty in the Santa Cruz Mountain Range together!