Barely an hour’s drive southeast of San Jose, Henry W. Coe State Park – the largest state park in northern California - protects and preserves 87,000 acres of scenic hills and mountain ridges. This wild, largely undeveloped park welcomes backpackers, equestrians, mountain bikers, day-hikers, and anyone seeking solitude in a nearly untouched setting. Part of the Diablo Range, the park is an amalgam of high ridges, plateaus, and both narrow and open valleys. After a rainy winter, wildflowers bloom in profusion from February through March; by April the color is rampant. The landscape is rich with blue lupine and orange-yellow California poppies, bright yellow gold fields and delicate baby blue eyes. Mariposa lilies, larkspur, blue dicks and Ithuriel’s spear show themselves in late April and May. The variety and richness of the flora attract visitors from miles around. The park is open year-round for hikers, mountain bikers, backpackers, equestrians, car campers, picnickers, photographers, and people who simply like to visit parks. Hot, dry summers bring highs above 90, cooling to the 50s at night. Hikers should carry and drink plenty of water, even on less-strenuous trails. Winter is wet, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s. In winter, seasonal creeks can overflow and become dangerously impassable. Spring and fall are the most temperate and enjoyable times to visit. Prepare for the variable climate and rugged landscape by dressing in layers. Dogs are allowed in the main campground, paved roads and one trail that connects the Visitor Center to the parking lot off of E. Dunne Ave. Dogs are not allowed at the Hunting Hollow or Dowdy Ranch entrances or on any other trails within the park.
amazing, from the beginning with the five turkey vultures circling over my dog and me, to the the nice serene up hill hike and the Prairie dogs every where, the magnificent view back into the Morgan Hill Valley, to the hawk that swoped down and on to a tree limb only about ten feet away and as he perched he seemed to say hello anyways the four miles hike was amazing
The Blue Ridge road / trail has some of the most beautiful views in the Bay Area. Note that Mt.Sizer is not where the free park brochure's map indicates. Also, if you're hoping to pick up a good topo map at the HQ, it may not be open if you get there early (I didn't check beforehand; I got there around 7am and it was closed). There's a decent amount of shade on most parts of this route, and overall, was a day well spent.
It was a GORGEOUS trail. My only complaint was that there were multiple creek crossings that we were not prepared for. Because of El Niño they were fairly deep as well. Other than that the trail was really quiet and peaceful. I would rate it as moderate as some parts can be fairly steep.
I am not convinced that this hike has 2000' gain - if it does then it is pretty well disguised. That figure is mentioned in the map published by CA State parks, but from the topological, elevation at Park HQ is around 2600' and Cayote creek is around 1200'. We could add in a couple of hundred feet to account for rolling terrain, we'd still be about 400' short.
First overnight trip. Beat the heat by hiking in at night. The dry grassy hills are much more beautiful when lit by the moonlight. I was not expecting it to be so difficult, it was hill after hill and coming down was very steep during the next day. The ponds are very dry and difficult to fish.
Hiked about 9 miles in Coe Park yesterday with 4 friends. Started at park HQ and took Monument Trail to Hobbs Rd to Middle Ridge Trail to Fish Trail then added on about 3 miles by looping south around Forest Trail then north via Springs Trail to Corral Trail and back to HQ. Though the skies were heavy to start with, the storm had passed, and we avoided having to put on rain gear. By 2pm the skies were clear and we had sun and a cool breeze, perfect for hiking. Encountered backpacking groups -- pairs of friends, school groups and scouts. The trails took us through a varied landscape from shad,y wooded creeksides to sunny, windswept hillsides studded by iconic stand-alone California oaks.
Just moved from DC so Henry Coe trails were only second ones hiked in the area. Frog Lake Loop was the first of three trails we hiked over MLK weekend. There was a gradual accent on Monument Trail as described but not too bad. Beautiful views at the apex. Ironically, I found the short but steep descent into canyon to Frog Lake where the trail merges onto a service road more challenging part of the weekend due to the loose gravel. Not overly steep but actually lost my footing on the loose rock a couple of times, so was comic relief for anyone within viewing range. Granted, picking rocks out of your hands from time to time is just part of hiking. However, a little easier on the ego doing it from some back-woods unimproved trail than strolling down a freakin “improved” gravel road. Though not quite as remote as I'd hoped, the trail itself was nice overall. Next time I'll hike the loop counter-clockwise to ascend that road and hopefully reclaim my pride.