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Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

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Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby justm » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:27 pm

Here's a quick TR from my backpacking trip to Henry Coe State Park. This was my first trip to the park.
The Good : Really friendly and helpful rangers, couldn't be nicer if they tried :p The trails are stunningly beautiful this time of year. I headed out on a Thursday from Hunting Hollow trail head. There were about 6 cars there. Saw very few people on the steep trails. Flowers , birds ,frogs,old gnarled oaks, green grass, bubbling creeks and incredible vistas !!!!

The Bad : A little expensive, $ 22.00 for two nights. Watch out for ticks and poison oak, especially this time of year !! only a few camping spots at Kelly and Coit lakes. I hiked back on a Saturday, there were 30 cars in the parking lot .

The Ugly: After a beautiful , quiet, peaceful hike up to Kelly lake, I found a Mountain house meal container and other garbage at my camping spot. There were two large 8 people groups there ( 8 people is the maximum size ) Actually , I kept meeting up with them, and they were with a school outdoor class, so it was ok. I found another trashed campsite at Coit lake, plus someone didn't bury their poo or paper right behind by campsite. THERE'S A BATHROOM 5 MINUETS AWAY !!!!!
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:56 pm

Your post was moved to the "Beyond The Sierra Nevada" section. ;)

Thanks for the TR and pictures! How were the wild flowers? WD went there to early, they should be near peak or a week or two from being there.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby justm » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:07 pm

They're just getting going Maverick !! It was so nice to get out and be alone in such a beautiful place !!! :)
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby balzaccom » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:07 pm

Nice report! Brings back memories of a trip we did there a few years ago on a warm February weekend.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:37 pm

We started Friday and came back Sunday. Went to Mississippi Lake, saw only two other people for most of the trip, two other backpackers who were doing the same loop as us. Lots of day hikers at China Hole, but we went in and came out via the Narrows -- my favorite part of Coe. A golden eagle swooped over us on our 5th water crossing - too bad I don't have a go pro on all the time, no time to snap a picture otherwise.

There are some really deep holes in Coyote Creek. I was finally able to verify someone is still using that house on the top of the unnamed cone-shaped hill in the canyon -- if you are hiking along the road past Arnold Horse Camp, on the roads around Bear Mountain, or along Willow Ridge, you'll see this little house on the peak of a hill the whole time since the route circles it. We were just past the millionth creek crossing of the day when this truck came driving up the creek (the roadbed is in the creek for a few miles) and plunged into the deep hole we'd just waded around, coming up the other side of the hole on the road as it left the creek with a steaming engine. It looked like he'd done it a million times, just drove through that really deep part of the creek as if it wasn't a problem to risk cracking your engine block in that cold water. Dude drove right up the road to the very top. No electricity, no phone, no plumbing, but there he was with his ice chest and big boxes of gear with the best view of Coe.
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:26 am

If you go in Hunting Hollow, there is a small square of non-Coe land that you can park on without paying the parking fee. You still have to pay the nightly per person fee but it does make it more reasonable. The parking there is quite limited, and often full, especially on weekends. I am not sure if you could park to the south, before you get on Coe land and before reaching Hunting Hollow. A local told me about this, but I have not verified it myself.

Almost anything in the Bay area has outrageous parking fees, particularly state parks. My trip cost me $39!! That is why I only go once a year. It really helps if you can get someone to go with you and share the parking costs. Point Reyes charges $20 a night, but at least there I can use my Golden Eagle pass and reduce that to $10 a night. Still quite expensive for we non-locals who do not make Bay area wages. There are three free small camping areas at Marin Headlands, limited to a few nights per year per person. I have done a 2-night backpack camping at the Environmental Camps near Muir Beach one night and the second at the Headlands free camp. There are also cheaper "Hike-and-Bike" camps at Samual Taylor State Park.
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby SSSdave » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:41 pm

Anywhere along the the Coyote Creek side of Gilroy Hot Springs Road is outside the park. If I were backpacking from Hunting Hollow I would park in the lot and be a good citizen by paying the parking fee. However there are good reasons to instead use the much less used trailhead a couple miles north where the road crosses the creek on the bridge. There parking along the creek is free. From the Coe website:

The Coyote Creek entrance is 2 miles past the Hunting Hollow Parking lot and does not offer any parking.

Well actually there IS space to park along the road. Also on the Coe fee page there is no mention of a current backpacking fee that used to be just $3 per night so I would tend to phone them and see what their current fee is? If I were using the bridge trailhead for parking, I'd pay the backpacking fee at Hunting Hollow then drive to the bridge without paying the parking fee. My suspicion is the park is purposely vague about this so most visitors will be paying. I personally don't have a problem with paying more but can understand how some might.

Of note for those unfamiliar, the Hunting Hollow/Coyote Creek trailheads are the ONLY places in the SF Bay Area region where a backpacker can just drive up at anytime time, fill out a self registration permit, pay fees, and start hiking and then camp anywhere. Also note that is NOT the situation from the Headquarters area. Also interesting to this person is that most backpackers seem to only have those ranch cattle ponds (there are no natural lakes despite the names) and locations trails cross creeks for destinations as though the rest of the park isn't worthy. No wonder people end up near other groups and see expected stuff like trash. At this time of early spring there are lots of small running streams where one can camp near so there isn't the need to camp by one of the cattle ponds just for water.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2016_Trip_C ... les-0.html
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:47 pm

I was told fairly early on that the county sheriff will patrol and tow anyone parked outside the park's lots, ie the pullouts along the road to the Coyote Creek entrance. That's an expensive parking fee, and then there is the matter of hitching back to town.

The current fee is $5 per night, which is on the official state park page as well as the association's page at coepark.net
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:38 pm

Nice report. I just returned as of last Friday (March 25) from 7 days of dayhiking a bit north of you in Sunol Regional Wilderness. Beautiful weather except for the rain on Monday (Mar. 21) and the wildflowers were outstanding, especially on the serpentinite soils.

This was part of teaching a geologic field mapping course. I was doing a bit more exploratory hiking outside of the normal field area myself this year, so I ended up beating up my knees more than on my hardest High Sierra backpacking trips. My left knee is still recovering.
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 , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:25 am

If you in any way block the road at Coyote Entrance, you are fair game to being towed. But I do not see how they can tow you if you are off the road and there is no sign that specifically disallows parking. The parking is very limited - only about three cars can actually be parked and well off the road. The best solution is to go in a group and share the parking costs. I think parking fees at Headquarters is $2 a night more than the fee at Hunting Hollow. For those of us who do not live in the Bay Area, $40 fees for a four day backpack is a shocker. I believe the high parking fees are aimed at reducing the amount of cars, not necessarily to gouge the backpacker.

Agreed- you WILL see people at Coit, Kelley and Mississippi Lakes. But they are nice and actually have fish.

The Narrows is also one of my favorite places. And Kelley Cabin Creek. Wow, I saw that house in 2005. I am surprised it did not burn in the fire.

The park website is actually quite good. I particularly like this page. They also keep good track of trail conditions.

http://coepark.net/pineridgeassociation ... -and-ponds
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby justm » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:17 am

Actually, I would have been alone at Kelly Lake, had it not been for those kids doing their outdoor class. I was alone the entire time at Coit. This was a route recommended to me by the ranger for my first time in Henry Coe, and I had a wonderful time !!! Those kids were great, I got to talk to them and I wish I had a class like that when I was in school. I don't care how popular a destination is, trash is unacceptable period. Yes, we are very lucky to have places like Henry Coe and Point Reyes. :)
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Re: Henry Coe , The Good, The Bad,and the Ugly

Postby SSSdave » Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:14 pm

Contacted HCSP yesterday and HQ volunteer said MAYBE there was a change in parking policy along the road but that they had no info about such as that would not be under the park's jurisdiction but rather Santa Clara County Sheriff patrol. Also explained the fee structure in more detail. At Hunting Hollow $6 per day vehicle fee and $5 per night per person backpacking fee. So a vehicle parked there 2 nights over 3 days would be $12. If there were 3 people in a group that would be 3*5*2= $30 dollars in backpacking fees. Total would be $12 + $30 = $42. Even if hiking out by the bridge without parking one needs to stop at HH and fill out the backpacking permit form and pay the fees.

Next called the Santa Clara County San Martin Police Station and Holly gave me Sgt Corasco who was unaware of any no parking policy on the road and after a nice conversation with me was going to enjoy driving out there himself and see what signs were there. He pretty much agreed with my assessment that one ought to be able to park along the road. Note there was another Sgt Owens who probably knows more but was not in yesterday. So either today or Monday will know more when he calls back when we ought get to the bottom of this.

My expectation is people will be allowed to park in usual places at the Coyote Creek bridge after paying whatever fees at Hunting Hollow and that the state park ought to have the county sheriff block off with big rocks any current roadside spots near Hunting Hollow if there are any to force people to park in the official lot.

David
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