Backcountry Weekend



For one spectacular weekend this spring, Henry W. Coe State Park will open the gate at Bell's Station on Highway 152 east of Gilroy and allow registered attendees to drive along Kaiser-Aetna Road beyond the Dowdy Visitor Center. The Coe Backcountry Weekend, held in the little-traveled east side of the 87,000-acre park is scheduled for April 29 - May 1, 2022. The event is sponsored by the Pine Ridge Association and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians have a unique opportunity to see and enjoy an area isolated from the park's Morgan Hill entrance by long distances and rugged terrain. The east side of the park has beautiful spring wildflowers, great fishing, and scenic trails, some with breathtaking panoramic views of the Diablo Range. The ridges and valleys are broader and easier to travel than the steep terrain in the western part of the park, and you can plan trips to areas that normally require several days of strenuous backpacking, places like Mississippi Lake and the Orestimba Wilderness.

Camp for One Night, Two Nights, or come up just for the day.

We will be offering one-night and two-night camping options along with day use on Saturday. The Bell’s Station Gate will open on Friday at 10 a.m. and Saturday at 8 a.m. for registered attendees. The gate will close at 6 p.m. on both days. The gate will be open on Sunday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. for event attendees to exit.

Note that, due to commuter traffic, it can take more than 2 hours on a typical Friday afternoon to reach the Bell's Station gate from South San Jose. Allow ample time to arrive BEFORE 6pm. The gate will close at 6pm!

Day hikers, backpackers and car campers may park anywhere along the Kaiser-Aetna Road between Center Flats Road and County Line Road with the exception of the Pacheco Creek Crossing area. Backpackers and day users may drive as far as the County Line Road junction while car campers may drive to the Orestimba Corral. Equestrians must drive in to the Orestimba Corral Horse Camp.

Due to ecological concerns and past creek bed damage, only vehicles with high clearance (8” or higher) will be allowed into the Orestimba Corral area (one mile beyond County Line Road). Vehicles that do not meet the clearance requirement will be parked along Kaiser-Aetna Road near County Line Road.

Everyone must be on their way out from the Orestimba Corral or County Line Road areas by 5pm on Sunday in order to make it to the Bell's Station gate by 6pm.


Registration is now closed for this year's event. Click here to purchase commemorative shirts.

Backpackers will be required to select backpacking zone preferences at the time of ticket purchase. Click here to see a map of the camping zones.

Day use will be $35, one-night camping $65, and two-night camping $100 per vehicle.