Mt. Madonna Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Mt. Madonna Road

CA, USA

The most scenic road bike climb in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Page Contributor(s): Mike Persellin, Minneapolis, MN, USA; Dan Razum, Campbell, CA, USA.

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary


Cycling Mt. Madonna, Santa Cruz Mountains - bike parked in brush along hillside in front of large tree stump, Santa Cruz Mountains in the background, blue sky

Cycling Mt. Madonna

Ride Four miles gaining 1,638’ at 7.6% average grade.

Cycling Mt. Madonna, Santa Cruz Mountains - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in bottom corner, bike parked next to tree stump in brush, horse under large oak tree on side of road, bike parked in front of massive redwood tree stump along roadside, PJAMM Cycling jersey draped over bike, large redwood trees along roadside

Mt. Madonna is a must-do climb if you are in the Santa Cruz area with a bike.  The road is remote, narrow, has views of Watsonville far below, and redwood groves near the top of the climb.  We highly recommend this bike climb.

Cycling Mt. Madonna, Santa Cruz Mountains - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked along narrow road against road sign for One Lane Road, bike parked against road sign for Casserly Road, bike parked against road sign warning no trucks over 45 feet on road, bike parked against fence overlooking mountain ranges, road sign warning that Tractors & Semis over 40 feet not advised on Mt. Madonna Road, ride map and gradient profile

Cycling Mt. Madonna, Santa Cruz Mountains - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, very narrow road lined completely with redwood trees, very shaded roadway, bike parked along redwood trees on roadside.

Redwoods border the road along the last mile of the climb.

Cycling Mt. Madonna, Santa Cruz Mountains - photo collage, large white dead tree stump, bike parked against it, narrow one lane roadway, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

Cycling Mt. Madonna, Santa Cruz Mountains - bike parked in front of medal gate going up a dirt roadway, sign for Middle Ridge, No Trespassing

Cycling Mt. Madonna, Santa Cruz Mountains - Garmin device displaying 14% grade

Never unbearably steep -- the steepest quarter mile is 13%. 

Climb summary by Mike Persellin, Minneapolis, MN, USA:

Mt. Madonna is one of the last spurs of the Santa Cruz Mountains as they peter out into the agricultural lands north of Corralitos.  The climb starts innocuously enough, but a right turn at just under two miles changes everything.  From there, it’s 2.1 miles of steady double-digits until it eases up a half-mile from the finish at the county park.  There are minute plateaus where you can catch your breath.  Be sure to take a right at the stop sign on Summit and ride the short distance to the highest elevation at the park.  

Cycling Mt. Madonna, Santa Cruz Mountains - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, dirt hiking trail paths covered in densely forested redwood trees, paths are shady, signs for Mt. Madonna County Park

This 4,605 acre park is one of few in the county that permits dogs in the campgrounds. 

Roadway Surface and Traffic Report:  The road is narrow and there is very occasional traffic.  The pavement is not the best and the descent is steep, so be careful coming down.

Cycling Mt. Madonna, Santa Cruz Mountains - John Johnson wearing PJAMM Cycling jersey with bike standing in front of road signs for Mt. Madonna Road, Summit, large redwood trees, narrow one-lane roadway

That’s a wrap!!