Explore the most popular horseback riding 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

Overgrown, free range cattle, beautiful views, poison oak, decent outing. May 27, 2018. Not hard at all, a casual hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful lake, but little access for swimming.

One of my favorite local trails! Valley and Coyote Lake views as well as wildlife. Go in Spring when the weather is cooler since there are many unshaded parts of the trail and you can enjoy the beauty of the many wildflowers. Another name for this trail is Mummy Mountain.

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.

5 months ago

I don't know why is it rated as hard, in fact this is easy nice walk crossing creeks many times, in the summer there is no water even.

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.

backpacking
11 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.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

We didn't go all the way to the end where it hits the junction cos we saw a coyote and didn't wanna risk an encounter . It was an easy trail . Very hot though cos there wasnt much tree cover . I liked walking across the many creeks but wished I had taken the option to go up Redfern Trail and looped back through Phegley Road back into Hunting Hollow for a better workout and a little more shade. I'll try that next time.

hiking
Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Beautiful! Short hike, down, then up. Great for kids. Stopped to see the white fallow deer afterwards. Also saw lizards and deer in the forest, which the kids enjoyed. Redwoods, ruins, wildlife!

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

Beautiful I Love it

hiking
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Great scenery! Well marked trails and lots of options for easy to moderate and short to long hikes. I ended up on Coyote Ridge trail. I just pick trails at random to hike with a goal of 5 miles. Ended up with 6 miles in 2 hours. Lots of cows, hawks, squirrels and I even was able to walk up on a deer and get a few photos before he/she notices me and ran off.

Nice trails, tall trees, lots of shade..

hiking
Monday, July 04, 2016

It was a nice trail with some occasional shady spots. We only walked a couple miles in and back out. There are several quail, frogs, and snakes you might come access on the trial.

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).

hiking
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

We hiked the Coyote Ridge trail while Camping at Coyote Lake. The trail is nicely maintained, and has benches along the way. It trail itself isn't a loop, but you are able to hop onto many other trails to get back. The trail itself doesn't have a lot of trees. We went during a heat wave - I would not recommend. Be sure to bring plenty of water. The views are awesome!

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 :)

hiking
Monday, November 24, 2014

Hiked this with my hiking group. Hiking after the rain had stopped. it was muddy but still nice for a hike. this was an easy trail with an option to gain higher elevation if extended to steer ridge loop. but since the trail was muddy and wet, i didnt go just for safety reasons. however, along this hike, we saw beautiful fall colors in the tree and salamanders. I would do this hike again.

hiking
Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nice stroll on a service road. Should have read the maps better to make it a loop on some trails. Great view of the valley and Coyote Lake. We walk about 2.5 in and then turned around . Free parking at the trail head. Also would be nice on a mountain bike.

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.

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