hiking

walking

nature trips

views

wild flowers

birding

wildlife

trail running

forest

mountain biking

camping

lake

backpacking

no dogs

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. Henry W. Coe State Park sprawls over acres of high ridges and low valleys southeast of San Jose. It once belonged to a rancher named Henry Willard Coe; his heirs donated the ranch that would become the state park bearing his name. The park has few amenities, but has abundant trails for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. 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.

Did this the second time, but camped at Sada's spring this time instead of dayhiking all of it. The site there is perfect for a single tent, with a good spot for a hammock. Going up the 'shortcut' in 90 deg weather in the afternoon with camping gear may not be the best idea, I discovered.

The map that we followed ended at lock gate

backpacking
10 days ago

Out and back. Really worth camping at the lake.

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Knocked it out in less than 4 hours with someone that never really hikes. All in all, pretty chill trail.

backpacking
28 days ago

This trail was rewarding with all of the vertical gain, and coit lake was a nice treat at the end. HOWEVER. I highly recommend avoiding the "cattle master trail" - it is not marked, hardly visible, and mainly soft, unstable ground with many mudslides along the way. Without AllTrails gps tracking over the trail we surely would have gotten lost. Stick to the clearly labeled paths to Kelly lake and coit lake and avoid the cattle trail that this loop suggests.

backpacking
29 days ago

Extremely tough and long bring plenty of water and food.

This is a great overnight trip. We did the whole thing in a casual 24 hours. One logistical warning: to get a backpack permit you need to go to the park HQ, which are about a 1 hour drive from where you put in for this area. Also, there is no overnight parking near this trailhead so you must park at Hunting Hollow and walk 1.8 miles up the mostly flat road before you start in on the trail. Not too bad, but adds 4 miles to the total trek. Also, we ran into at least 2 groups at the lake who hadn't bothered to get a permit, so we had more company than the ranger said we'd have. I don't mind this type of fauna too much but be forewarned if you're looking for solitude.

Calm lake. Two hiking options: 6 miles out & back or 4.5 miles loop. Out&Back is easy, loop is moderate.

hiking
1 month ago