Henry Coe State Park

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Today I went for a hike in Henry Coe State Park – the first time I’ve been there! The park website wasn’t very helpful in terms of selecting a trail, except I was able to download the brochure with a trail map for the entire park (no topo, though). I decided to go to the southwest entrance, called Hunting Hollow. There weren’t any campsites near the entrance, and there were lots of trail loops that I could choose from if I wanted to extend or shorten the hike. I arrived at about 7:30am, and the parking fee was $6. The parking lot is staffed by a park officer in a truck during peak hours on weekends. There weren’t many cars in the lot when I arrived, but there were lots when I got back – many were trucks with horse trailers.

The Plan was to attempt to reach Kelly Lake, but I quickly realized that this was not going to happen. As I said, I didn’t look at a topo map before I went, and the trail was insanely steep! I hadn’t been hiking for months, and the trail quickly kicked my ass. I also realized that I’ve worn through my good hiking socks at work, and needed to procure new ones before attempting additional hills. Here’s an elevation plot of the trail:

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Yeah… steep! A pretty hike though, with lots of oak woodlands and grasslands. There weren’t many wildflowers, but we haven’t had much rain this year. The hike was about 7.2 miles, with an elevation gain of 2,130 feet. I hiked from the parking area up the Steer Ridge Trail, along Steer Ridge Road (a two-track/trail), and back down Lyman Willson Ridge Trail.

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Bird species seen/heard: Bullock’s oriole, house wren, spotted towhee, acorn woodpecker, California towhee, red-tailed hawk, white-breasted nuthatch, oak titmouse, dark-eyed junco, western scrub-jay, violet-green swallow, mourning dove, Audubon’s warbler, Anna’s hummingbird, wrentit, white-tailed kite, California quail, American crow, American kestrel, western bluebird, hairy woodpecker, Steller’s jay, western meadowlark, lesser goldfinch, rock pigeon, common raven, pine siskin, lark sparrow, ruby-crowned kinglet, Townsend’s warbler, warbling vireo, brown-headed cowbird.

The sycamore riparian woodland along the road at the bottom of the trail was great for birds!

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