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Backpacking at Henry Coe State Park

The Bay Area's widest array of backpacking options await in the wild hills southeast of San Jose.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 41.041 miles
Duration: Multiple days

Overview :  Henry Coe State Park is the wildest Bay Area backpacking locale, and the one place where backpackers can choose their own campsites... more »

Tips:  Call (408) 779-2728 before you set out for the park to see if any sections of the park are closed and find out the latest fees. Many... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Easy: Frog Lake

Excellent introduction to Henry Coe backpacking, minus the punishing climbs Coe is notorious for.

Start at the Dunne Avenue HQ (Point 4 on the map). At the visitors center, check to make sure the campsite is available and pay the overnight fee.

Take the Corral Trail for about a half-mile to the junction with the Flat Frog Trail -- it... More

2. Moderate: Kelly Lake

One of the best places to camp in all of Henry Coe -- the main challenge is the hike up one steep hill and down another to get there. It's a lovely pond that's especially scenic in the morning.

There's no shortcut to Kelly Lake, but there is one nice route from the Coyote Creek Entrance.

Intrepid Everytrail regular Vaudesir camped there in ... More

3. Strenuous: Mississippi Lake

It's 10 tough miles one-way to Mississippi Lake, where the wisest option is to set up a base camp for multiple days of fishing, exploring or resting up for the return trip. Trails for this hike:

Corral Trail>>Manzanita Point Road>>Poverty Flat Road>>Mahoney Meadows Road>>Willow Ridge Trail (the map with this guide ... More

4. Dunne Avenue Headquarters

This is the main headquarters of Henry Coe State Park. Staff and volunteers can answer questions and help you choose a campsite.

Driving directions: Take the Dunne Avenue exit from U.S. Highway 101 and head east on Dunne Avenue: it's 13 twisting miles to the park HQ -- the first three pass through a suburb.

Bear right at a sign saying the ... More

5. Hunting Hollow entrance

Most convenient place to launch a back-country outing -- large parking lot and typically park volunteers on hand (on spring weekends anyway) for guidance.

Hunting Hollow is the bottom of a long, deep canyon and all the hikes out of it require substantial climbs. Avoid Steer Ridge Trail -- it's the first left turn after the parking lot and is... More

6. Coyote Creek entrance

Coyote Creek is the nicest place to start a Henry Coe hike; whereas most of the other trails in the park start out with steep climbs or descents, Coyote Creek offers a gentler introduction to the Coe backcountry.

Great way to start: Take Coit Road to Anza Trail (there's a big signboard there describing early explorations of the region). Anza... More