Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Henry W. Coe State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Stunning views from high elevation, plenty of wildlife and too many species of wildflowers to count, although with the onset of summer I imagine the cooler weather & wildflowers I experienced will go away. Saw a beautifully-colored gopher snake, quail, wild turkeys, red-winged blackbirds at Kelly Lake, and near Hunters Hollow road at dusk- a mountain lion!

There are plenty of trailhead signs which Kept the head-scratching to a minimum. There are vaulted bathrooms and camps spread throughout the area. I took Coit road at the end to Pacheco camp instead of what the map shows, which was roughly equidistant. Pacheco & Wilson’s camp both had running water faucets (still needs to be filtered), and Pacheco even had a primitive shower setup.

Ran into some nice people and three park rangers, a few bicyclists. Pacheco falls is down to a trickle. Kelly Lake was my favorite, and probably the most populated area. The lake is mostly surrounded by cattails, but there’s a spot on the northeast end where you can get to the water for filtering, fishing, or a swim if you’re brave enough.

It’s only $5 to camp/ $6 to park per day and you can self-register; definitely a place to check out if you want to do some last-minute backpacking.

Big surprise, this trip didn't go as planned. Haha, but still fun.
My friend and I definitely went a different route, because we missed some forks that I had originally Routed.
We started at the Coyote Creek TH, and made it to Kelly Lake around 16:00. We did about 13 miles. We decided to go a little farther to Coit Lake. We were quite burnt and quite sore. We couldn't find an area to set up camp, everything was pretty high grass and swampy. The lakes were brown and pretty ugly. We walked on, hoping to make it to Pacheco Falls, but we ran out of water and got too tired and so called it quits.
My friend got VERY burnt so we headed back the next day and didn't bother to go to Pacheco Falls. We took a much a shorter route from Kelly Lake and set up camp right at the Coyote Creek TH, that way I could get one more night outside and my friend wouldn't have to walk far the next morning.
About 2300, a bunch of teenagers showed up and proceeded to have a rave on the bridge up to the Hot Springs. They blared their music and made a bunch of noise, so at 00:30, we broke camp. We passed through clouds of marijuana smoke and swaggering drunken teenagers underneath the full moon.
It was quite the adventure. Hah!
There were some pretty sites, but overall, this place isn't very pretty. Also, very expensive to backpack here. A backpacking fee per day and a parking fee, just not worth it for what you are getting to see.
The only reason I am giving it 3 stars is because we met some really nice people! Also, lots of wildlife: a coyote, a cottontail, a rattlesnake, a manx!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful lake, but little access for swimming.

backpacking
2 months ago

Fantastic hike to do in the spring! Temperatures were fairly mild, and we were able to see a variety of wildlife. We walked through at least 4 different terrains including grassy regions, heavily forested areas, shaded creeks, dessert-ish areas. The wildflowers were in bloom right when we were backpacking. The park rangers are super helpful! We did a modified version of the loop to get the best view of the wildflowers. There is quite a bit of elevation gain, including steep uphill and downhill climbs, but it's doable for most fairly fit people. We started at noon and camped for two nights, finishing around 10am on the third day. We got a tiny bit lost near a small trail off Bear Mountain, but otherwise most trails were well marked. Overall a fantastic trip--highly recommend!

Hard but rewarding loop with many moments of silence and serenity; we saw only a handful of people the entire time.

Nice jaunt. A few spots were rather annoying with the elevation change but all in all a good hike. Also had a nice lunch under an old oak tree at the lake. Peaceful and no hum of cars.

Be prepared for multiple creek crossings on Hunting Hollow trail. We saw a mountain lion on the Redfern Trail. Hike on.

Known as "Flag Frog, Middle Ridge, And Fish Trail Loop" in 101 Great Hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Haven't walked this yet - rating based on book recommendation - will update when I walk it later today.

This hike had a great deal of elevation changes in short distances. You will want to be conditioned before attempting it! Traveling Serpentine was a huge climb for sore legs on day 2 of our trip, Middle Steer Trail was a straight descent down from Steer Ridge, if you are sore or would like to ease your trip, I suggest taking Steer Ridge to Jim Donnelly- which was just recently re-carved and has enough switchbacks to lighten the descent on your legs. Overall this was a great trip and Pacheco Falls were 10/10 worth the trek!

backpacking
10 months ago

I hiked out to Coit Lake from the Hunting Hollow Park Entrance recently as part of a 2 night backpacking trip. The fishing at Coit was great. Only giving 4 out of 5 stars because the shore access on Coit lake was not as good as Mississippi or Kelly Lake. https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/henry-coe-coit-lake/

backpacking
11 months ago

This trail will push one to their limit as portions are incredibly steep. The area is stunning with great vistas of ridges and valleys. The trails are not maintained so grasses, tar weed and other weeds will fill one's socks with stickers and tarry goo (summertime). Bobcats, deer, hawks and many other wildlife will be seen. Flat areas for tents are at a premium as this area is steep. Filtered water from the ponds and lakes tastes like rain water. Beautiful but exhausting.

The map that we followed ended at lock gate

backpacking
Monday, May 29, 2017

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.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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.

backpacking
Monday, December 19, 2016

This was a hard but rewarding trek with a lot of front-loaded elevation gain on both days. We set out from the Hunting Hollow Entrance of Henry Coe State Park and walked up the road (~2 miles) to the Coyote Creek park entrance - where this trail starts. You quickly start climbing on the Anza Trail and the Jackson Trail. There was some tree cover, but luckily we were hiking in the winter when temperatures were mid-50s. There were great views of the surrounding hills and fields which made all of the work totally worth it. After the climb, descending down to Kelly Lake is easy and then there is a slight hike up and down again to the nearby Coit Lake. There were lots of frogs, ducks, and other birds by Coit Lake. There were several choice camping spots around the northern part of the lake. We woke up to frost on the ground, it was magical. Conviniently, there are a few outhouses near Kelly and Coit Lake along with a few trash bins (although I don't know how often those are emptied). Hiking back up the hill from Kelly Lake was killer, but after that its a nice flat/decline hike down Grizzly Gulch back to the Coyote Creek Entrance. Overall a great trip!

hiking
Saturday, July 25, 2015

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.

hiking
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The toughest backpacking trip of my life! 95 degrees and no shelter along the way. Parked at the Ranger station up on Dunne Ave in Morgan Hill. Blazing hot and carry a gallon of water! Very strenuous uphill hike but what else would you expect coming out of an area called 'hell hole!?!" Able to reload water in some areas in the first few miles (before you need it!) but don't count on it. In the July I went, most areas were well dried up or so small, muddy and green you wouldn't want to. After about 12 miles one-way to Coit Lake you reach a great little bass oasis. A 'bass per cast' is no kidding with my little Rapala floater. Too tired to enjoy more than the 15 minutes and 4 nice fish I caught and released, I ate a quick dinner and slept great except for the huge army ants eating my flesh. So hot and a forecast for higher temps, I decided to leave the next morning after breakfast. A route through the "Narrows" sounded good except there was even less water where I thought there would be more along the "river." Totally dry. About 4hrs into the 100+ degree hike, I found myself out of water and standing over a 10' wide green puddle full of minnows and algae. I pumped a couple bottles full, treated with extra extra iodine and soaked a mint teabag to hide the funky flavor. I soaked my feet in the water and the minnows were trying to eat my toes! Creepy feeling but I was ready to hit the trail and make it back to the car. Several incredibly hot and steep miles and at about the time the body was ready to give up, I stumbled to the car and actually lived to tell the story. I dream of the fishing but need an easier way to get there!

on Tie Down Peak Loop

hiking
1 month ago

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

backpacking
Sunday, May 07, 2017

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