The Pine Ridge Association at
Henry W. Coe State Park
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Coe Park is the largest state park in northern California, with over 87,000 acres of wild open spaces. The terrain of the park is rugged, varied, and beautiful, with lofty ridges and steep canyons. Once the home of Ohlone Indians, the park is now home to a fascinating variety of plants and animals, including the elusive mountain lion. Within Coe Park are the headwaters of Coyote Creek, long stretches of the Pacheco and Orestimba creeks, and a 23,300-acre wilderness area.
The Pine Ridge Association was formed in 1975 to assist park staff in providing interpretive and educational programs to the public. It provides funds to support guided walks, evening talks , and the state park's volunteer program. It also sponsors the annual Mother's Day Breakfast, the fall Tarantula Fest and barbecue, the Backcountry Weekend, and other park events.
Coe Park features a variety of water resources including lakes, ponds, creeks and springs. Recreational uses include swimming, fishing and nature observation. No diving is allowed.
On long hikes, be sure to take plenty of water and food. On warm days, take more water than you think you'll need. Coe Park is a huge wilderness. It's not that difficult to take a wrong turn and get lost. Maps are available in the Visitor Center.
Before you set out, you might want to ask someone in the Visitor Center about the latest water conditions for the areas you will be traveling. After heavy rains many creeks are uncrossable. In contrast, by early summer many of the smaller ponds can already be dry. The flow from springs varies throughout the year.
Available water could be a flowing spring oasis, a mud hole, or a stagnant pool. Don't rely on a single observation about water availability; consider alternate water sources as a backup. Take into consideration the timeliness of the observation. Consider recent weather conditions. Would water conditions be improving (due to rainfall) or getting worse (during hot weather) since the last reported observation? Water conditions can change quickly.
Visitor Centers: The park's Visitor Centers and adjacent camping and picnicking areas have potable water available at faucets and drinking fountains. These are at the Coe Park Headquarters facility and also at the Dowdy Ranch Visitor Center. Also in the Headquarters area there are 2 poly tanks maintained with water; one at the intersection of Manzanita Point and Poverty Flat Roads; the other at the Manzanita Point Group Camping area. Some special events at the park are provided with a water trailer supplying water. Note: The water tanks and the water trailer are currently out of service.
Ponds and Lakes: Many of the smaller ponds can dry up quickly. Water level is the relative percentage of being full, measured to the spillway. A water level of 1% generally indicates mud only. A water level of 0% indicates the site is completely dry.
Springs: Not all springs shown on the park map are developed. Some springs have flow cutoff valves so water may not flow continuously. Many springs have troughs to make access easier for horses. On the report, water level indicates the trough's relative percentage of being full. A water level of 0 or a blank water level indicates that either no trough is available or that the source is dry. The flow rate is the rate of water produced by the spring (in liters per minute) measured at the time of observation. Some springs may flow only during the night. Thus, the combination of flow rate and water level can give you a better understanding of the conditions.
Creeks: Water levels above knee-high are considered non-crossable. Use extreme care when crossing creeks. Consider weather conditions.. You may not be able to return if the creek rises. By late spring most of the creeks are reduced to isolated pools. In such cases, the report designates that the creek is not flowing but that water is available.
GPS: UTM-East and UTM-North are the approximate GPS coordinates using the UTM UPS grid and the WGS 84 map datum to locate the water resource. Ponds and lakes are measured at the mid-point of the dam. Springs are generally measured at the water trough or output pipe. Creeks are generally measured at an intersection or crossing.
Purify all backcountry water that you intend to consume. Bury human waste and wash dishes at least 100 feet from streams, lakes, and springs. There is a lot of information regarding water purification on the internet. You may want to search on backpacking water purification, for example.
The Backpacking at Coe Park page has additional information, including backpacking rules and recommendations.
Fall can be a wonderful time to visit Coe Park, as the leaves of the oaks, sycamores and occasional big-leaf maples turn yellow and brown. The heat of summer is yielding to cooler mornings and bright days with long afternoon shadows.
Check the Planning Your Visit page for current conditions.
We're always working to maintain and improve the buildings, trails and springs that support our park users. There are springs to repair, trees to remove, trails and roads to maintain, dams to clean and all kinds of short, 1-3 day activities to help Coe Park. Click here to find out how you can Lend a Hand.