Explore the most popular camping trails near Gilroy with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

a little rigorous for horses

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful lake, but little access for swimming.

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.

Update 3/6/2018

All trails are open again, and equestrians appear to be using the trails. Nice and quiet on a Tuesday morning. Definitely prefer to park on the Gilroy side of the park and hike up Sprig Trail, then end with Merry Go Round Trail on the way back down. Old Mine Trail is worth it for the views.

March 2017

This is overall a great south county loop. It is a little crowded as far as other parks in this county go: on a Tuesday afternoon I passed a dozen people or so, including the people at the Sprig Recreation Area entrance, which is around the midpoint. This park is also a big horse riding area, but due to the recent rain, it is closed to equestrian traffic, so if you're a rule breaker like me it's a good time to let your dog off leash. This means a lot of the trails are very wide unfortunately. I love the cool, shady canopy and mix of redwoods and laurels on Sprig Trail, and the beautiful, rocky chaparral of Merry-Go-Round. I would recommend taking the loop in the opposite order the title suggests, starting with the Tan Oak Trail via Meadow Trail. The Tan Oak trail will take you to a junction with the Lower Miller Trail where you can see the really cool ruins of the Miller summer place. Legend says the park is haunted by the spirit of 19th century cattle baron Henry Miller's 8-year-old daughter, who fell from her horse and broke her neck while out on a ride. Then the Loop Trail Cut-Off will get you to Merry-Go-Round, which will descend the mountain toward the Santa Clara Valley. It is a more exposed fire road, which makes it nicer to do this direction, followed by the shady, winding climb of Sprig Trail back up to the entrance booth. Tie Camp Trail, which bisects the loop, is currently closed, as is a section of the Blackhawk Trail which is noted on the map.

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!

This trail is very close to my home and it is my go-to trail. I really enjoy seeing all the seasons on this trail. It can be too hot when temps go past 95 as there are a few long steep sections with no shade for much of the way. Watch your step as Alligator lizards and small snakes often sun themselves in the sunny sections of the trail and often won’t move until it is too late.

Good trail. Lots of animals: turkeys, wild pigs, dears and cattle. We extended the hike by going down to the valley. This adds 2 miles. The view of the lake has nothing special. The lake was quite low.

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
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.

The Sprig trail will work your legs up the 1.5 mile climb to the ridge, but it then levels and drops back down. Great canopy for most of the loop, but Merry Go Round is exposed and more of a fire road. There are several better single track options to get back down to the Sprig trailhead parking lot. Great for dogs, but be mindful of horses.

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.

nice trail with wonderful views!

This local South County trail is a gem. This review only pertains to the Sprig Lake Trail, which begins in the parking lot on Hwy 152 E. The trail is a steep ascent up to the campground and is only 1.8 miles up. It is a great option for a quickie that will get your cardio racing and the turnaround at the campsites is where this review ends. You can complete the loop with the Merry-Go-Round and others that you create back to the parking lot. Not one for little ones, due to the steepness, but 4 legged friends in trail shape will do fine and be tuckered out the rest of the day. Also a great choice for hot days, as the entire route is under the canopy of hardwood and redwoods. Awesome in the rainy moths as it stays fairly dry in the rain due to the trees and the forest scent is intense thanks to the native Bay Laurel trees. Lace up and go...

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!

This an awesome trail with great views.

It was hard but did it

It was a good hike...a lot of horse $4!t!! LOL

trail running
Friday, September 02, 2016

I really enjoyed this trail. Also ran Mummy Mountain Trail. Very awesome, however Lake was desolate?

Beautiful I Love it

Nice trails, tall trees, lots of shade..

Started at Miller House to Loop (S), to Ridge (W), to Sprig (E), to Blackhawk Canyon (W) and back up Ridge and Loop to parking lot. Blackhawk Canyon was the nicest, most serene part of this trail (though currently closed for landslide maintenance, it's easy enough to walk around the gate...). Westbound on Blackhawk is a relentless uphill, and a good workout. Most of the trails around this park were fairly disappointing, mostly because they are wide, flat and boring. Stick to the dotted, hiking only trails if you want a better feel, better scenery, and don't want to dodge horse poop every few inches (EXCESSIVE amounts of it plague this park).

camping
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

We camped at Coyote Lake and had a great time! The tent and RV sites are not too overly crowded. Restrooms and showers are nice as well.

There are plenty of activities to do: Hiking, boating and fishing. The lake was low when we went which limit the boat activities. Talked to a few people fishing and they mentioned they weren't catching any. We decided to do a lot of hiking! There are dozens of trails there. Be aware - most trails do not have a lot of trees - and it is in Gilroy - so it is HOT! Bring plenty of water. The trails were nicely maintained. There is also benches and tables along most routes.

Had a great time! Hope to come back when it is a little cooler.

I live a few miles away and go here weekly or so. To me the best hike for moderate hour and a half or so is to park at sprig lake (not a lake) on the gilroy side near the bottom of the hill. Head to the right side, all the way to the merry-go-round trail, and work your way across the main section of the park to the front trail (can't recall) that ends immediately in front of where you parked. Good scenery, changes in surroundings and changes in intensity. I see there's a meetup here later this week from the valley- maybe I'll crash the party or say hello :)

Nice short hike with great views of the lake. You can make it 4 miles by starting on the Mendoza trail, taking a right onto the Mummy Mountain trail and then looping back to the parking lot via the coyote ridge trail.

The Bay View trail is a great family trail. Well marked at all the junctions with other trails, the entire trail is through redwoods with some beautiful canyons and a great overlook of the Watsonville area all the way to Monterey Bay. Gentle inclines and declines throughout with one steep, but short, section if you loop around onto the East Bay View Trail back towards the entrance to the park. Restrooms and water at the picnic area at the trail head.

Load More