The Pine Ridge Association at
Henry W. Coe State Park
"This looks like somebody's ranch."
That's something many people say when they visit Coe Park for the first time. And it's a natural observation, since most of the buildings at the western entrance to the park were constructed during the years when Henry W. Coe, Jr., and his family lived and worked on the Pine Ridge Ranch, from about 1900 until 1953.
In 1953 Sada Coe donated the ranch to Santa Clara County so that it could be preserved as park lands. In 1958 the ranch became a part of the state park system.
Your visit to the park will probably start at the Visitor Center on the west side of the park. That's where you pay your fees for day use parking, for camping, and for backpacking.
Sada Coe donated the funds required to construct the Visitor Center, which was completed in 1971. Today, the Visitor Center serves as the park headquarters and office, as a museum and interpretive center for visitors, as a training center for park volunteers, and as the headquarters for the Pine Ridge Association.
The association, in cooperation with the state, is in the process of raising funds to expand the Visitor Center. Plans include a larger, more comfortable auditorium, more space for natural history displays, handicapped access, and a deck that will run along the entire length of the back of the building.
Henry W. Coe State 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 park is open year-round for hikers, mountain bikers, backpackers, equestrians, car campers, picnickers, photographers, and people who simply like to visit parks.
The ridges, meadows, and deep canyons of Henry W. Coe State Park are located in the Diablo Range south of San Jose and east of the fertile Santa Clara Valley. Elevations in the 80,000-acre park range from 710 feet where the North Fork of Pacheco Creek leaves the southeastern part of the park to 3,560 feet on the slopes of Mt. Stakes in the northeastern area of the park.
Gently rounded ridge tops alternate with deep, steep-sided canyons and beautiful flowing streams. Grasslands and oak savanna straddle the ridges and cover the gentle slopes. Shaded hillsides and canyons are covered with forests and woodlands.
The ridges have spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, and from some vantage points, on clear days, you can see the peaks and domes of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
When you come to the park, don't forget to bring a camera. The opportunities for excellent nature photography are limitless. Even the road to Coe Park Headquarters, though long, winding, and narrow in spots, has beautiful scenery and breathtaking views. The view below, of Anderson Lake, is about six miles from the park looking back towards Santa Clara Valley. Anderson Lake is Santa Clara's largest reservoir and is part of Anderson Lake County Park, a popular Bay Area recreation area. Also close by is Coyote Lake County Park. If you'd like more information about Santa Clara county parks, visit their homepage.