Explore the most popular camping 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.

Single track trail with some good climbs- pretty overgrown, lots of poison oak and swarms of yellow jackets. That being said, I still rate it 4 stars since it was my fault for going during this time of the year- spring and fall are the ticket with this baby. We accidentally took a wrong turn and finished by climbing up and over Hobbs Road and down Monument, which definitely upgraded this hike to “difficult”, at least for me.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this loop on 8/17 but did not take the short trail up to Mt Sizer. It was warm and 92F in the afternoon. It is best to start as early as possible. We took 3L of water and probably could have used 4L.
The views from the Blue Ridge are awesome. Last year we could see the Sierras.
The shortcut and Poverty Flat were very hard work and we stopped several times to cool off. Relentless is the adjective to describe them. We did not see anyone on the entire loop.
I highly recommend the loop. It has terrific views and is challenging for most. I would avoid warm >80F days for the loop.

Did this hike in the middle of July 2018 on a day that was quite hot. Much of the trail goes along roads which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how rugged you want your hike to be. We passed many trucks on our hike but not a single hiker to be seen. We went through jackass trail which had groves of poison oak growing next to and on the trail but this area is starkly beautiful as you're walking through a charred oak forest "graveyard".

The trail is about 60% covered by oaks and manzanita, but 40% is pretty exposed so make to wear sunscreen. Also note that the water table is low so the water pumps are all empty so the only water you have is what you take with you.

Overall this is a hike best left for spring when the weather isnt as oppressive. You'll need every bit of help going through the shortcut and poverty flat at the end. The trails arent too rugged so it makes for clear directions but less intimate exploration.

This was incredibly hard in the middle of summer...as everyone says, bring plenty of water!! At least 4 liters. You’ll need every drop. This trail is relentless!

hiking
2 months ago

Completed this clockwise this morning and used about 3l of water total. In early July I was able to fill up just before going up The Shortcut and could have also filled up at at the intersection of Poverty Flat and China Hole, if I’d needed to. Despite being July the weather was very mild 8C when I set off and 22C by the time I got back to the headquarters.

The Short Cut is quite challenging but a slow and steady approach works well. I definitely recommend cutting down Jackass Trail as the views and single track are great. My rating for this route is 4* to reflect the general lack of single track when good routes are there.

Instead of walking back up Poverty Flat I cut up China Hole Trail and briefly walked along Forest Trail before finishing the last 1km on Corral. Definitely recommended if you enjoy single track my route: 5* :-).

Total time for ~26km was 4h55m. Honestly I expected this to be more difficult than it was. I walked with poles for the first time and suspect this may have made the difference as my legs feel significantly less tired than I anticipated.

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
4 months ago

This is a good one! Completed on 5/19/18 and this will kick your ass. We did it clockwise and it starts out nice enough but once you hit the short cut, it gets pretty serious. This is an intense climb so make sure you're well prepared for this. I clocked in around 1500ft of gain. After this, it's a nice walk on the ridge. We cut down Jackass Trail, though, wouldn't really recommend this route, its super overgrown right now and we found lots of ticks on us after that stretch. The climb on Poverty Flats is pretty rough too, tough way to end an already long hike. I should have filtered more water at China Hole but opted not too. This is a solid hike but as long as you're well prepared, it's nice and challenging. Enjoy before it gets to hot!

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful lake, but little access for swimming.

backpacking
5 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!

hiking
5 months ago

It was a unique experience to walk though oak savannah and into an old madrone forest with ponderosa pine. Apparently there are ponderosa pines on three ridges in the Henry Coe area. I was pleasantly surprised. The wildflowers were out, and I must have seen over a dozen different species. The wild iris was my favorite. At frog lake there was a giant bellowing bullfrog and fish and smaller frogs aplenty. (The large bullfrog is invasive, unfortunately.) Otherwise not much wildlife, but I am sure the animals are out there.

The roads are extremely steep, built for trucks, so I recommend taking the walking trails. Lots of spots for backcamping. Bring lots of water, a filter, and food. It’s rugged and you will definitely need some extra calories to get through the day(s).

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.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked on 3-10-18. 5 stars... maybe because it was raining and the wildlife was out, there was only 3 people on the trail (beside a few backpackers in Poverty Flat). I completed going clockwise, heard frogs at frog lake, a fox up on Blue Ridge, a rabbit, two herds of deers, multitudes of California Newts. The Big Berry Manzanita are amazing as are the Madrones. Flowers were out. Anyways this hike was a gem in the rain with an umbrella. But a lot of elevation gain. This hike took me 8 hours, and ended in the dark after a great sunset.

on Mount Sizer Loop

hiking
6 months ago

I did this trek on Sunday 3-12-18 and unfortunately I did it backwards. So I can not say I have completed the "short cut" It was a really nice hike in 65 degree weather can imagine it being much hotter I would melt away. It was long and intense for me and I hike every weekend. I took the Jackass trail from Poverty flat to Blueridge (remember I started at end) Going down the Short Cut is really rough on the knees..... I much prefer going up it. I will be back to do it the right way.... It is very peaceful and lightly traffic, just how I like it.

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

Really stunning walk. Varied terrain with shade, water and some nice uphill sections to get going. Picked up a tick on the route so be aware.

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!

hiking
10 months ago

Tough one. Budget at least 7 hrs.

backpacking
Monday, August 21, 2017

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/

hiking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

A couple of strenuous climbs, but completely worth the view you get along Blue Ridge Rd. There are plenty of hawks to keep you company. The creek is also beautiful even in the summer and worth poking around if you have time. Most of this trail is downhill and a bit hard on the feet - I had to run the steeper parts. Finished in 6 hours, "short cut" took me 36 minutes.

hiking
Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hiked this in 90+ degree weather. Did it in 7 hours out of necessity, but now I'm dead.

This trail takes you to the bottom of the valley, to the peak of mt. sizer, back down to another creek bed, and then back up to the starting point. Drank four liters of water and wanted more. I bought the fourth liter at the advice if the rangers, and that saved me. 5 stars, but I do not recommend going in the summer.

hiking
Monday, July 17, 2017

Good workout, low crowd with minimal shade

hiking
Thursday, June 29, 2017

I consider myself an occasional hiker 6 to 7 times a year, maybe 10 miles at a time. I have hiked almost all the other popular day hikes in the bay area. I hiked this Monday about 80 degrees weather. I was contemplating climbing Mt. Whitney and was checking my endurance. This was a killer. I somehow ended up hiking 17.5 miles with a few side trips. The "shortcut" took me 1 hour 30 minutes, twice my age. I did take jackass trail it is passable during the day, although I counted 4 trees fallen over the trail. There is some poison oak along the route that one can avoid if they are careful. The Jackass trail is overgrown at some points and would be impossible to follow during dusk or at night. It took me 10.5 hours to do 17.5 miles. The views were good, but I have seen better at other hikes in the area. It is a good training hike to test your stamina. I concluded I am not ready for a day hike up Whitney, maybe I could do with an overnight and more training.

Monday, June 26, 2017

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

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

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

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.

hiking
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Extremely tough and long bring plenty of water and food.

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.

hiking
Monday, April 03, 2017

It's really tough. We spent 9 hours to finish this, including multiple rests and crossing 3 creeks. Be ware to be get wet in the creeks during the spring time. But once you have done it, the only feeling you have is proud.

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