Henry W. Coe State Park (the "W" is usually omitted) is a giant park, at the least. It takes miles to cross, and some of the countryside is rarely reached by man. There are hardly even proper roads in most of the parkland.
(Note that, although there are numerous "roads" in the park, that doesn't necessarily mean they are driveable. They're just former ranch roads.)
The terrain is rugged mountain ridges for the most part, except for a few valleys in the middle of the park. The direction of the ridges make the trails more difficult than most, often climbing and falling several thousand feet within the space of a few miles.
Flora and fauna
Much of the land is dominated, unlike that which is farther north, by pine forests. However, oak trees can be found in the region.
Although it is not as hot as nearby lands due to the elevation, Henry Coe Park can still get hot and is fairly dry, and has a Mediterranean climate.
There are two main entrances in the north and south. The northern entrance, the main one, is on a road called Dunne Avenue and is accessible from Morgan Hill.
There is also an entrance at Hunting Hollow in the south of the park, which is accessible from Gilroy Hot Springs Road north of Gilroy.
The Dowdy Ranch entrance, which is accessible from a 7-mile stretch of dirt road from Highway 152 starting at Bell's station is open primarily during summer weekends.
Fees and permits
Without proper roads going around the state park, it can take days to get to the far regions of Henry Coe. There are campsites around the park for those who want to travel these longer distances.
- 1 Mississippi Lake (Near the center of the park). Largest reservoir in Henry Coe State Park. It is more than 10 miles from any staging area, and the trails around the lake are more than two miles in all.
- 2 Henry Coe Monument, Hobbs Road (Walk along Hobbs "Road" north from the main staging area).
- 1 Mount Sizer, Blue Ridge Road. Extremely remote location and a hard-to-climb mountain, with an elevation of more than 3,000 feet.
There are several ponds and creeks throughout the park, but the water from these would of course have to be boiled first.
There are no hotels in Henry Coe State Park. Generally, head to entry towns of Morgan Hill and Gilroy for hotel choice.
- 1 Coe Ranch Headquarters, 9100 E Dunne Ave (Staging area). Several campsites are located around the main staging area.
- 2 Manzanita Point, Manzanita Point Road.
- 3 Poverty Flat Camps, Poverty Flat Road. Minor campsite located in a canyon below Manzanita Point.
The park is large, and has opportunities for camping alone. However, for safety and convenience, it is probably best to camp at one of the main camping areas.
Isolation is the worst problem with Henry Coe State Park. If you run into a problem, you may suddenly realize that there is no internet connection, let alone any kind of phone service.