The Pine Ridge Association at Henry W. Coe State Park

Backpacking in Coe Park

Photo by Karl Doll - Orestimba Wilderness

Coe Park is a backpacker's dream come true.  You could easily plan a week-long trip, hiking 10 miles a day and camping at a different site every night.  The park has space for over 60 backpacking parties, with a maximum of eight people per party.  Sites range from less than a mile to over 20 miles from park headquarters.  The campsites are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, but you're almost always likely to get a good campsite, even during the lovely, busy months of spring.

In the park's Western Area, backpackers camp at designated sites.  In the eastern zones, backpackers can camp wherever they like, but we limit the number of parties in each zone to ensure a sense of solitude for everyone.

Before starting out on a backpacking trip, you must register, pay your camping and parking fees, and obtain a permit on the day of your departure. This can be done at the Headquarters Visitor Center or Dowdy Ranch Visitor Center.

We'll reserve your site(s) for you when you register, but you must register on the day of your departure. During registration, you'll be asked to read and agree to comply with the backpacking rules on the back of your permit.

At the Hunting Hollow Entrance or when the visitor centers are closed, self registration is available.

No matter how familiar you are with the park, it's always a good idea to talk to park staff or a volunteer (in person or by phone) before you head out on a backpacking trip.  You can get valuable, late-breaking information about water availability and trail conditions and tips about the best routes and campsites. 

Pick up one of our new Backpacking Guides at the Visitor Center or download any of them from our website (for trips from HeadquartersHunting Hollow and Dowdy Ranch entrances).

Also, whenever you're in the headquarters Visitor Center, look for two binders:  Trails of Coe Park and Camping at Coe.  The trails binder has highlighted maps of park trails and lists mileages and elevation gains.  The camping binder provides route maps and photographs for backpacking campsites in the park.

South Entrances

If you want to backpack into the park from one of the south entrances (Coyote Creek or Hunting Hollow), you must register and pay your park fees at Hunting Hollow before you set out.  You can self-register at the entrance when it's not staffed.  Please see our entrances page, for important information about using the park's southern entrances.