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Henry Coe: MS Lake, Coit Lake, Hunting Hallow

27.69 miles
Henry Coe State Park
Dave Sholer, Jared Atkins

Day 1: 10.92 miles; +3,054', -3,506'
We left from Henry Coe Headquarters probably about an hour before sunrise, hiking with flashlights. We headed down Poverty Flat to Los Cruceros, where we headed up Willow Ridge Trail. The plan was to hike to Jackrabbit Lake this day (then to Mustang Peak, staying at Coit Lake, before heading down to Hunting Hallow entrance/exit). On "Rollar Coaster Ridge", since renamed Willow Ridge Rd, Dave's knees were giving him trouble, bringing progress to a crawl. Upon reaching Mississippi Lake at around lunchtime, it was decided that there was no way Dave would be able to make it to Jackrabbit Lake (extreme eastern side of park) or that, if he could, it would require much more effort to get out the next day.  Henry Coe is the largest park in Northern California, and most of its visitors never leave the western most area that is within a 5 mile radius of park headquarters. As is the case, it is not uncommon to go an entire trip in the "backcountry" without seeing another person. Therefore, it is extremely important to take precaution and to use common sense while hiking, as a rescue would not be as easy as in other locations. We ended up setting up camp on the northeast corner of the lake. There is a nice bathroom there which is, oddly-enough, handicapped-accessible.
Day 2: 7.93 miles; +1,716', -1,759'
We followed County Line Rd to Coit Rd, past Pacheco Camp to Coit Ridge Trail. From there, it was down Coit Dam trail before wrapping all the way around Coit Lake. We stayed at an established site with a covered table. Starting a couple miles south of Mississippi Lake, this region of Henry Coe is lush and green, especially when compared to the northern Orestimba Wilderness area. There is much more shade and water available, although the elevation is not any less challenging. We did not see a single person this day.
Day 3: 8.84 miles; +1,679', -2,878'
We continued heading south, taking Coit Rd to the Fish & Game trail which meets up with Wagon Rd. Near Wasno Pond, we headed west onto Wasno Rd., immediately heading south again on Tule Pond Trail. After a short stint on the overgrown Grizzy Gulch Rd, we headed south on the Serpentine Trail, which leads almost to the top of Wilson Peak. From there, on the aptly-named Steer Ridge Rd, we quite literally followed the ridge all the way down to Hunting Hallow Entrance, where a ride was waiting for us. Steer ridge is quite unique in comparison to the ridges around it. First, there are few if any trees to speak of. After emerging onto the ridge from the mostly-shaded Serpentine Trail, it was a sight noticing the clearing that went on and on down the gentle slopes. Second, there are certain seismic-related features to the ridge that look pretty interesting. The last half mile down the ridge is fairly steep. It's important to note that there isn't an abudance of water in this general area past the entrance, so plan ahead.

Subpages (1): Henry Coe Maps