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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'll be in Morgan Hill tomorrow (Saturday) and I'm thinking of hitting Henry Coe while I'm there, but I thought I would ask here since it's infamously brutal. I consider myself to be in average shape. My limit is probably between 3000' and 4000' of climbing over a 3 hour period. As far as steepness goes, I can barely make it up the steeps from the Mockingbird entrance at Quicksilver nonstop. Any trail suggestions? Hopefully it won't get too hot there tomorrow. Thanks for your help!
 

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1st off, read the other post about the giant horse event at the Coyote Creek entrance. That leaves the HQ entrance for tomorrow. There are two main options. For a first trip, you might want to ride out Manzanita Point Rd, down China Hole Tr to China Hole and up the other side, then return to HQ. It's about 15 miles and under 3k' of climbing. The singletrack is nice and will not feel like you're riding it twice, IMO.

The other option is a Middle Ridge loop. It will be more strenuous, more technical and more scenic. You go left on Flat Frog Tr after the initial descent on Manzanita Point Rd. Flat Frog is awesome, 2.2 miles, not so flat, but no major climbing either. It ends at Hobbs Rd. Climb Hobbs to the top. Maybe stop off and check out Frog Lake below the bathroom on the right. Don't climb Frog Lake Tr from the lake to the top. The no-bikes sign is missing there and you wouldn't find anyone on the sweet singletrack climb to the top, but it's off limits :rolleyes:.

At the top of Hobbs, go down about 25 yards past the right turn onto Middle Ridge Tr to the picnic table overlook of Blue Ridge. It's an awesome spot.

Middle Ridge has two climbs. The first is a real challenge. I made it once. There are two right-hand trail turns, both off-limits to bikes. Middle Ridge has lots of ass-off-the-seat downhill pitches. Try not to skid it up. It's awesome.

At the bottom, cross the creek, ride through the campsite, cross the creek again to the right and you'll pop out on Poverty Flat Rd. Resist ANY urge to go right up the road. It was built by satan himself on a particular bike-hating day.

There are three options from Poverty Flat. After turning left, east, before the creek, on the right, you can find Cougar Trail. It's a very steep 1/2 mile hike-a-bike up to China Hole Trail. It's the fastest way out if you're in a hurry. I used to be able to do the MR loop with Cougar option in 2 hours. It would probably take me 2.5 nowadays.

If you skip Cougar, cross the creek again on the road, continue past the bathroom and on the right, just before the road starts to climb, you'll find creekside tr that starts with yet another creek crossing. Creekside has poison oak. Don't say I didn't warn you. It also has hike-a-bike with a couple spots that are on a hillside with some exposure. Warnings aside, it's very scenic, mostly rideable and a quick way to get to China Hole, so you can climb singletrack back up to HQ. Stay along the creek to the right and you can't miss China Hole and the trail back up. This option adds about 30 minutes vs hiking up Cougar Tr.

The 3rd option is the longest and probably adds another hour and another 1000'. Continue following Poverty Flat Rd uphill, take a right on Mahoney Meadows Rd (*), past Los Cruzeros, up a couple heinous climbs you'll find Lost Springs Tr. I haven't been on it in a while, but it probably has a good crop of poison oak too, but it's a great trail. At the top it meets up with China Hole Tr and Mahoney Meadows Rd again at another bathroom. From there take China Hole Tr down to China Hole and then up to Manzanita Pt Rd.

(*)There's a singletrack bypass here, Schaeffer Corral Tr. If you have a map, take the singletrack instead.

Get a map at HQ. It's worth the $9. Bring more water and food than you think you'll need.

When are you going? All this typing has made me want to go too.
 

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Hunting Hollow - Lyman Wison (one somewhat steep section) - Bowl to Wilson camp - wagon to Grizzly gulch - Spike Jones - bypass - Donnely down to HH is a nice short loop. For extra you can climb Tower off Grizzly gulch and go down Jackson trail and Anza trail. Or add a loop down Timm trail when climbing Spike Jones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Whoa, thanks for the detailed description! The ride sounds awesome, and thanks for the heads up about the horse ride. I have some things to do in Morgan Hill in the morning but I'll have most of the afternoon free. Totally down to ride with you if you want to go, as long as you're OK with waiting for me on the ups and the downs (I'm a fairly conservative rider, especially on new trails).
 

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For an easy introduction to Coe, head to Hunting hollow, take the Jim Donnelly trail up, nice easy grade. It will pop you out on a fire road go right and watch for a unmapped easy to spot trail shortly on your left, this will take you over to the Spike Jones trail, take a left and have a ripping good time down. Once you hit the fireroad, go left and take it back to the pavement and a easy cruz back to the car. Want more ride up it again, this time continue up the fireroad at the top of Jim Donnelly to Middle Steer ridge for a even faster ripper back to the parking lot.
 

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If you can ride up from the Mockingbird entrance, you can ride anything at Henry Coe. I only come down that way. I see few who can ride that stretch. One guy I met at Bull Run last weekend claimed he could do it. From his speed passing me, I believe him.

The routes offered are good. The advantage of starting from Hunting Hollow, is that you end on a down hill. From HQ, the Middle Ridge is nice loop, one of the best, but there's a big climb out. Overall its only about 2500' of climbing so you'll be OK.

From Hunting Hollow, you can keep going deeper on successive trips. It's addicting and you can spend years exploring the trails and wide open spaces there. I did. The next (second timer) deeper loop from HH that's fun is up Lyman-Willson or Jim Donnelly to Wagon up top, over Coit Lake by various ways, then Cross Canyon from the Coit Lake side, and then crossing Coit Rd. and going down Grapevine, then doing Jackson Anza. That will be about 4000' of climbing overall.

No matter what, take a map and extra water. Too many times I crawled in extra dry. Happens a lot at Henry Coe. If you don't yet have a map, that's a good reason to start at HQ, so you can buy one of their fabulous plastic topo maps, and do Middle Ridge on your first ride.
 

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For an easy introduction to Coe, head to Hunting hollow, take the Jim Donnelly trail up, nice easy grade. It will pop you out on a fire road go right and watch for a unmapped easy to spot trail shortly on your left, this will take you over to the Spike Jones trail, take a left and have a ripping good time down. Once you hit the fireroad, go left and take it back to the pavement and a easy cruz back to the car. Want more ride up it again, this time continue up the fireroad at the top of Jim Donnelly to Middle Steer ridge for a even faster ripper back to the parking lot.
^^^what he sez...

The horse activity http://forums.mtbr.com/california-n...urday-henry-w-coe-sp-903223.html#post11061807 referred to by Fast Eddie will mostly be at the Coyote Creek entrance so parking and riding from the Hunting Hollow parking lot should not have excessive equestrian traffic. But if you take the Spike Jones Tr as recommended by TahoeBC you will come out at the CC gate and hence likely some horse traffic. Don't let that stop you; just be polite. (FYI no legal parking at CC entrance)

But the Jim Donnelly Tr climb is an excellent way to enjoy Coe for the first time; just make it an out and back or stay to the right on Steer Ridge Rd and return via Middle Steer Ridge Tr, Lyman Willson Ridge Tr or go all the way to Willson Camp on Steer Ridge Rd and return on nearly level Bowl Tr either to LWRT or MSRT for some DH kicks. (Multi-use trails so respect the 15 mph speed limit especially if your line-of-sight is limited)

BTW; the park map posted at the kiosk is very out-dated and does not show the current route of the JDT; hang a left from HH Rd about 1/8 mile past the gate at the parking lot---the old map has you going .8 mile to the old JDT which has been abandoned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys! Based on all your suggestions I'll probably be trying Middle Ridge if it's only 2500' climbing. I'll be sure to pick up a map that will (hopefully) prevent me from getting lost.
 

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You can't go wrong with Middle Ridge! One tip for a spot that confuses some people - when you get to the start of Flat Frog trail (at the bottom of a flat downhill on a fireroad), there are 3 single-track trails leaving to the left. Flat Frog is the furthest left (a sharp turn) and the other two trails have "no bike" signs, and sometimes people miss seeing Flat Frog and they only spot the two "no bikes" trails.

If you're allergic to poison oak, pay attention. There will be some here and there and it's leafing. And check yourself for ticks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Had a great time at Henry Coe today. Met Ed in person and did the Middle Ridge to China Hole loop he suggested. Thanks for the great route suggestion! Length was almost perfect. My legs got really tired on the climb back to HQ, so I had to rest more frequently. Took me about 3.5 hours total.

Some thoughts:
- Lots of poison oak! Also saw ticks camping on overhanging grass (shudder).
- The flat frog trail was awesome, probably my favorite
- Those pesky flies followed me everywhere on climbs!
- Was lazy and didn't put my seat down on Middle Ridge until I nearly ate dirt halfway through. Some uncomfortably steep switchbacks there.
- Walked almost all of creekside. Are you sure it's mostly rideable or did I take the wrong path? Seems like you have to be a trials pro to ride that.

The trails were awesome, although the drive up was a bit of a pain. Next time I'm going with a buddy so I don't get screwed in a bad crash!
 

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Flat frog is indeed a great little singletrack trail. It's one of the few trails at Henry Coe that doesn't go straight up or down.
The creek side trail is a hike-a-bike for sure. Streams are typical routes in the desolate Henry Coe. More fun when it's full of water and you need to cross a few times. Still worth taking to get to the nicely switch backed China Camp trail for the climb out. Hope you looked back for the views of that "T" canyon below.
I've found you loose the flies and bugs right around 6 MPH or more. Try that uphill at Henry Coe.

Middle Ridge is not just steep. Not just rutted. Not just tricky with sudden turns. It's also very slippery. Someone should have warned you. Hee Hee.
My first ride at Henry Coe was Middle Ridge, based on a guide book. It showed a guy crashed in a pile, down one of those slippery turns, saying that was typical. My wife was "you're going there alone?". I was "sure, life insurance is in the drawer over there".
I didn't crash but the trail suddenly disappeared once on a steep point, and I couldn't figure it out. So stopped to look for the trail, holding onto a tree with one arm. Then I saw the steep trail dropping off on the left, just to the other side of the tree, with my bike trying to move out from under me. I found it impossible to remove myself in that "check mate" situation. I wasn't in a position to go down the trail. And I needed a second arm to climb the tree, but taking it off the brake would release the bike from under me. I ended up doing that fast, then walking down and recovering my heap of a bike.
 

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BTW, I can attest that aznfatnerd has lost weight since he came up with his forum handle. Send a PM to Francois. He can change it for you. :)
 

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Thanks for all the advice in this thread. I made my second bike trip ever to Coe yesterday (hottest day yet of the year?) after a business trip that took me down south - luckily, I was with like-minded MTB-addicted coworkers. We only had time for a short loop: Hunting Hollow-->up Jim Donnelly --> up Steer Ridge --> down Middle Steer Ridge-->Hunting Hollow. Short and fun and beautiful. 7.6mi a little over an hour moving time, 1,750 ft climbing.

On Sunday, we are planning to go back for something more "leisurely,", and I was liking the look of this suggested route from BigLarry:

"The next (second timer) deeper loop from HH that's fun is up Lyman-Willson or Jim Donnelly to Wagon up top, over Coit Lake by various ways, then Cross Canyon from the Coit Lake side, and then crossing Coit Rd. and going down Grapevine, then doing Jackson Anza. That will be about 4000' of climbing overall."

Anyone want to suggest some specifics with respect to the "various ways" mentioned above? And, I assume that route would preclude Grizzly Gulch (which I hear is a must)?

Another slightly shorter option we were considering was: up Jim Donnelly (or Lyman-Willson) --> Steer Ridge --> Serpentine --> Grizzly Gulch --> out Coit Rd...or, add on Tower --> Jackson --> Anza before Coit Rd. From that intersection, Coit Rd really is the best way to get back to HH?

And, can someone compare/contrast climbing the new Jim Donnelly vs. Lyman-Willson?

Thanks!

Pictures from yesterday's late afternoon ride:

HH parking lot all to ourselves at 6pm:


Calochortus of at least four different species still blooming:


Top of Jim Donnelly:


Lots of hills to climb-all alone!:


The view while descending Middle Steer Ridge:
 

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On Sunday, we are planning to go back for something more "leisurely,", and I was liking the look of this suggested route from BigLarry:

"The next (second timer) deeper loop from HH that's fun is up Lyman-Willson or Jim Donnelly to Wagon up top, over Coit Lake by various ways, then Cross Canyon from the Coit Lake side, and then crossing Coit Rd. and going down Grapevine, then doing Jackson Anza. That will be about 4000' of climbing overall."

Anyone want to suggest some specifics with respect to the "various ways" mentioned above? And, I assume that route would preclude Grizzly Gulch (which I hear is a must)?

Another slightly shorter option we were considering was: up Jim Donnelly (or Lyman-Willson) --> Steer Ridge --> Serpentine --> Grizzly Gulch --> out Coit Rd...or, add on Tower --> Jackson --> Anza before Coit Rd. From that intersection, Coit Rd really is the best way to get back to HH?

And, can someone compare/contrast climbing the new Jim Donnelly vs. Lyman-Willson?

Thanks!
First of all Jim Donnelly Trail is much sweeter and nicer than Lyman-Willson. JDT is a single track that's nicely switch backed to be a reasonable grade. Lymann-Willson is a very steep fire road. The only reason to do Lyman Willson is that it gets you up top quickly, even if you're hiking part of it.

At the top of JDT, you need to climb some more up some fire road to the top of Willson Peak, or you can go down Spike Jones which is a very fun but quick downhill end to the ride. Or you can go down Serpentine to Grizzly Trail, which is a lot of up and down singletrack high on the side of a valley, until a steep DH at the end. Great views and fun to ride. .

To get to Cross Canyon from the top of Wilson Peak, you can go down Serpentine to Grizzly Gulch, then over to Wagon Road, to Wasno Rd and down Kelly Rd to Kelly Lane and Kelly Cabin to Cross Canyon. From Lyman-Willson, one usually takes the Bowl Trail over to the Wilson Ranch on Wagon, and from there to Wasno, Kelly Lake or whatever.

Coit Rd is a good way to climb up without walking for me, but it's the most boring way to come out, unless you have an emergency. So many better ways to descend include Domino Pond, Jackson/Anza, and Grapevine.

On your proposed route, you'll see a lot of the good section of Grizzly, but miss the bottom steep descent which can be fun. Rock Tower is very steep, but some are able to ride up it. I had fun going down it one day. Jackson/Anza is one of my favorite downhill rides, and the favorite ride of many before JDT was made recently.
 

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Grizzly's not my favorite.

How about this:

JDT, Spike Jones, Coit Rd, Anza, Jackson, Elderberry Springs, Jackson Rd, Wagon Rd, Domino Pond, Cattle Duster, Coit Springs, Grapevine, Anza and Coit Rd to Gilroy Hot Springs Rd out.
 
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