Henry W. Coe State Park - Hiking

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About

Summary

Boasting the title of largest state park in northern California, Henry W. Coe State Park encompasses 87,000 acres of varied and largely undeveloped landscape: rolling hills, both narrow and wide valleys, high ridges, deep canyons, broad plateaus, along with gently flowing streams, vast grasslands, and thick woods.

Written by

Marta Haftek

Distance

0.1 miles

Varies; depending on how far you want to hike.

Destination Distance From Downtown

62.9 miles

Difficulty

5 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

One hour to one weekend.

Seasonality

All Seasons

June through September are hot with few water sources.

Dog Friendly

No

Fees Permits

Yes

$6-$8 daily parking permit. $5 backpacking sites per person; first-come, first-served only.

Review

Intro

Boasting the title of largest state park in northern California, Henry W. Coe State Park encompasses 87,000 acres of varied and largely undeveloped landscape: rolling hills, both narrow and wide valleys, high ridges, deep canyons, broad plateaus, along with gently flowing streams, vast grasslands, and thick woods.

What Makes It Great

Only an hour southeast of San Jose, Henry W. Coe State Park lies east of the Santa Clara Valley within the Diablo Range. As a result, the terrain ranges from its nadir at Pacheco Creek in the southeastern part of the park (710 feet) to its highest peak at Mount Stakes in the northeastern area of the park (3,560 feet). One can enjoy spectacular, expansive views of the countryside from soaring ridges and on days with great visibility, even the outlines of the Sierra Nevada are discernable. Formerly ranch lands, many of the routes in Henry W. Coe State Park are dirt roads that were designed for motorized vehicles. The means the “trails” are steep and the descents are grueling.

For the determined, China Hole offers a popular and refreshing swimming destination 5 miles into the park with a 1,400 foot elevation gain. To explore the centrally located Orestimba Wilderness and Peak (2,074 ft), be prepared to venture 15 miles across rugged terrain. Thankfully, you’ll be rewarded with access to Mississippi Lake - the park’s largest lake teeming with large-mouth bass. With sizable blue oaks scattered across its rounded summit, Wilson Peak (2.651 ft) is the highest point in the southern region of the park and another fantastic destination. Opportunities to explore an abandoned ranch field station, Wilson Camp, are en route.  Endless roaming awaits you.

Who is Going to Love It

Folks who enjoy solitude will fall in love with this park. Backpackers, day-hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, car campers, picnickers, nature photographers will all be swept away by the pristine beauty of this park.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Head south on highway 101. After about 67 miles, take the East Dunne Avenue exit in Morgan Hill. Turn left, and follow the meandering East Dunne Avenue for 13 miles. 

The road ends at the Visitor Center (open spring and summer on the weekends, 8AM-4PM; for other hours call: 408-779-2728). Ask the park rangers about water availability.

Bikes allowed on certain trails.


Location

Henry W. Coe State Park

9100 E Dunne Ave.
Morgan Hill, CA, 95037
37.186921, -121.547138

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