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Henry Coe State Park

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Henry Coe State Park

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:19 pm

Henry Coe State Park, CA. March 17-19, 2015

A key factor in backpacking at Henry Coe Park is the water sources, so I have included the status of the streams and ponds. In general, the water is a bit lower than in late April, 2012. Weather was perfect! Hunting Hollow is the official trailhead. We registered and paid our fees, then drove up the road to Coyote Entrance, and fortunately found one remaining parking spot along the road, which is not officially in the park. On weekends it is nearly impossible to find parking so you walk the 1.9 miles from Hunting Hollow to the Coyote Entrance.

Day 1. Coyote Entrance to Coit Lake via Grizzly Gulch trail, Rock Tower trail, Domino Pond trail, Wasno Road, Kelly Lake trail, Wagon Road, Coit Dam trail. 8.4 miles, 3100 feet gain, -1915 feet loss, 6.5 hours.

Having nearly killed my knees going the opposite direction in 2012, this time I chose to climb the steeper trails going in and save the more gentle trails for descending. The original plan was to camp at Kelly Lake, but we arrived early because we did not have to walk from Hunting Hollow. We decided to make the next day easier and continue to Coit Lake. Instead of the direct route, we climbed to Wagon Road and dropped down on Coit Dam Trail to the north end of Coit Lake (the dam). Another group was camped at the south end. Other than these four fellows, we did not see anyone else the entire trip. The south-facing slopes were already drying out but wildflowers were still brilliant. The oak trees that loose leaves are just beginning to leaf-out for the spring. There was a small trickle of water below Domino Pond, which was only about a quarter full. The ponds south of the Kelly Lake trail had water. Kelly Lake was nearly full and many ducks were swimming in the water. Coit Lake was also nearly full and full of ducks and fish (the other group was fishing and caught plenty).

Day 2. Coit Lake, day-hike to Pacheco Falls, and Cross Canyon Trail to the lower part of Kelly Cabin Creek. 9.2 miles, 2,100 feet gain, -2615 feet loss, 6 hours.

It felt great to hike without packs! We did not get started until 9AM. First we took the trail to the south end of Coit Lake, where we chatted with the fishermen. Then up the road past Game and Fish Pond which appeared a few feet low. Then we took the Live Oak Springs trail and Pacheco Falls trail. Wood Duck Pond was also a few feet low. A small stream of water flowed down Pacheco Falls and the pond at the base was full, pretty much the same as in 2012. We looped back to Coit Lake via White Tank springs where the creek was barely flowing. After eating lunch we packed up and headed down the Cross Canyon Trail. The unnamed pond west of Coit Lake appeared full and Kelly Cabin Creek was flowing with about ankle deep water. In 2012 it was much higher. This time no wading was needed to cross the creek many times. The descent trail was a gentle grade and full of wildflowers. The better camping was up at the southeast end of Kelly Canyon but we continued to the northwest end, hoping to find an established campsite before it headed uphill. None was to be found so we camped on sloped lumpy sites. Shade arrived early in the canyon; not bad since it actually was quite warm. It was dark by 7:30 and getting chilly so we retreated to our tents.

Day 3. Lower Kelly Cabin Creek to Coyote Entrance, via Cross Canyon trail, Grapevine Trail, Anza Trail and Coit Road. 6.1 miles, 1,500 feet gain, -2,005 elevation loss, 3.5 hours.

Again we got a late start, but sun still had not reached the bottom of the canyon. The canyon and the north facing slopes are still lush and full of wildflowers. I love the moss hanging from the oak trees. I had never been on the Anza trail, so in spite of adding nearly 500 feet of gain, we took this trail, rather than the Coit Road on the return. It was worth the extra effort- much nicer than walking on a road. The horse troughs were full at the two springs along the Grapevine trail. This was a pleasant trip and a good early season conditioner. Henry Coe Park always gives you a good workout in a wonderful ecosystem of rolling oak hills. This year the wildflower are early, and likely will wilt soon unless we get more rain. Poison oak is abundant. We saw lots of birds, ducks, one snake, deer and lots of signs of coyotes. Fortunately, we were a bit too early for ticks or mosquites. Although present, thankfully, I have yet to run into wild hogs or tarantulas at Henry Coe.

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Grizzly Gulch Trail

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Shooting Stars on Rock Tower Trail

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Domino Pond

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Near Wasno Road



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Re: Henry Coe State Park

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:26 pm

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Wasno Road and Kelly Lake Trail junction, ponds to the south

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Moss on oak trees at Kelly Lake

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End of first day at Coit Lake

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Game and Fish Pond

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Game and Fish Pond

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Wood Duck Pond

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Pacheco Falls

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Coit Dam Trail

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Back at Coit Lake
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Re: Henry Coe State Park

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:30 pm

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Kelly Cabin Creek on the Cross Canyon Trail

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On Cross Canyon Trail

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Sunset at end of canyon, on an old 4wd road

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Grapevine Trail

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Anza Trail
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Re: Henry Coe State Park

Postby ciclista » Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:56 pm

That's a nice trip report and photos. My wife and I camped at the SouthEast end of Coit Lake last weekend and we were the only people camped on the lake-lucky us, even on a weekend. I fished from the area in front of your campsite. The fishing was much better at Mississippi Lake and Kingbird Pond, but those two places are about 20 miles from the trailheads. The whole park looks really good right now, yet there's hardly any cars in the Hunting Hollow parking lot during the week.

You need to watch out for ticks. After our Valentines weekend trip to Coe Park I found one on me, already filling up, and last weekend I knocked off two of them that I picked up around Coit Lake. In the evening we saw a few mosquitoes around our campsite at Coit Lake, but we didn't resort to bug repellent.
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Re: Henry Coe State Park

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:21 pm

Interesting post. Even though I lived in the Bay Area for 45 years I can't recall hiking in Henry Coe Park. I've long been interested in the geology there because I've done a lot of field work and teaching in the Diablo Range, spending two teaching trips a year at Sunol Regional Wilderness (just returned from the annual week-long spring trip: not backpacking just dayhikes--we car camp at Anthony Chabot above San Leandro). I will will have to check out Henry Coe soon.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Henry Coe State Park

Postby SSSdave » Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:49 pm

Thanks WD nice report, well written. In spring have extensively day hiked up from the GHS springs bridge and Hunting Hollow. Stayed away this year as was focused on Pacheco Pass SP to the south. Have wanted to backpack out of HH for some years but never seem to make time. Is easy to set up the permits and is about the only place in the region where just a mile from trailheads one can camp at will and not in some designated spot. Several years ago they were having trouble with car break-ins with cars left in those remote areas overnight. I did do a solo 3-day trip out of the HCSP headquarters area and that was rather creepy because of the weird cat (as in mountain lion) sounds at night. Spooked me enough that I won't go again solo.
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Re: Henry Coe State Park

Postby maverick » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:01 pm

Dave Wrote:

I did do a solo 3-day trip out of the HCSP headquarters area and that was rather creepy because of the
weird cat (as in mountain lion) sounds at night.


Maybe those were the some of those Bobcats that I have seen and heard when backpacking in HC. Seen them
at Edgewood Park several years ago too.
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