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Mount Sizer Loop: Henry Coe State Park

Strenuous 15-mile hike captures the wild essence of Henry W. Coe State Park, southeast of San Jose, California.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 15.6 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview:  This is Henry Coe the hard way: 15 miles with over 4,000 feet of ascent and a chance to test your legs on the "Short Cut" -- consensus... more »

Tips:  Pay for parking at the park headquarters before you start out ($8 as of July 2010).

Mind your water supply -- you'll go through much... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Dunne Avenue Headquarters

Follow the signs to Manzanita Point Road, a somewhat steep paved road northwest of the Park Headquarters. Turn onto Manzanita Point Road.

The road passes a park staff residence on the right, then turns into a gravel road. Stay on Manzanita Point Road for just over a half mile.

2. Hobbs Road

Bear left at the Y, which begins Hobbs Road -- You'll stay on this road for several miles.

Hobbs Road climbs steeply, the first of many on this hike. Excellent views of the nearby mountains open up as you climb.

3. Coe Monument

After about .4 of a mile, a bas relief monument to Henry Willard Coe, for whom the park is named, appears on your right.

Coe, a rancher who grew up on this land, died in 1943, leaving the land to his son, Henry Sutcliffe Coe, who in turn sold it in 1948 to a land company that created the network of roads now passing through the park.

Henry W. ... More

4. Privy near Frog Lake

Hobbs Road descends sharply after the Coe Monument, crossing a creek and climbing again to a ridge overlooking Frog Lake.

Take a potty stop at the privy over on the right if the urge hits.

After the privy, Hobbs Road climbs for about a half-mile, then begins a 2-mile descent to the Middle Fork of Coyote Creek.

Note: this crossing can be... More

5. Creek Crossing, bottom of the Short Cut

Rest up a few minutes for this climb, it's a doozy: 1,400 feet of ascent in 1.4 miles.

This is the infamous Short Cut -- mention Henry Coe to veteran Bay Area hikers and some will inevitably ask, "Have you done the Short Cut?" Being able to answer "yes" is a point of significant pride.

Why is it called "The Short Cut"? Because this old road... More

6. Blue Ridge Road

Once you've conquered the Short Cut, turn right at Blue Ridge Road and rest up on the old bench.

The hike along Blue Ridge Road climbs gently compared to Hobbs Road. The vistas along this section are amazing.

7. Mount Sizer

Mount Sizer isn't much of a mountain -- it's really just the high point along Blue Ridge. A spur trail to the high point appears on the left after about a mile.

It's worth a stop, however, to soak in the views.

Once you get back on Blue Ridge Road, continue downhill for about two miles.

8. Jackass Trail

Blue Ridge Road takes a sharp westward bend, and Jackass Trail shows up on the right after about .2 mile.

Jackass Trail is a narrow singletrack -- often overgrown in places -- tracking a ridge that suffered significant burn damage in a wildfire in 2007. The recovery from the fire damage has created one of the most starkly beautiful places in the... More

9. Poverty Flat Road

Turn right on Poverty Flat Road, which starts as a gentle descent, then dives steeply down to the Poverty Flat campground area.

10. Poverty Flat, Privy

The descent levels off at Poverty Flat, which has a privy over to the right of the trail and several campsites on the left.

Coyote Creek offers a chance to soak your feet and restore your water supply (make sure you purify drinking water you take from the creek).

11. Coyote Creek Crossing

Here you revisit the Middle Fork of the Coyote Creek, last seen at the foot of the Short Cut.

Cross the creek (you'll probably have to take your shoes off, depending on the water level) and begin the last steep climb of this hike -- 1,000 feet in 1.7 miles to the crossing at Manzanita Point Road.

12. Manzanita Point Road junction

From here you could just turn right on Manzanita Point Road and follow it all the way back to the park headquarters.

A much more relaxing and scenic option is to cross the road and take the Springs Trail, a pretty single-track that goes most of the way back to the HQ.

Wildlife sightings are common on the Springs Trail -- deer, turkeys, coyotes,... More

13. Corral Trail

After about a mile, Springs Trail intersects with at the Corral Trail. Turn right on Corral Trail and take it all the way to the parking lot.