The 2020 Backcountry Weekend has been cancelled.
Due to the current conditions with the spread of the coronavirus and in accordance with guidance from the State of California and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and for the safety of our visitors and staff we are regretfully canceling the 2020 Backcountry Weekend event. We will issue full refunds to all applicants
For one spectacular weekend this spring, Henry W. Coe State Park will again open the gate at Bell's Station on Highway 152 east of Gilroy. The Coe Backcountry Weekend, held in the little-traveled east side of the 87,000 acre park is scheduled for April 24 - 26, 2020. The event, sponsored by the Pine Ridge Association and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, allows visitors vehicle access to a remote and beautiful area.
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 day trips to areas that normally require several days of strenuous backpacking, places like Mississippi Lake and the Orestimba Wilderness.
During the weekend, you can explore on your own or you can participate in group activities, such as guided hikes and horse back rides, wildflower walks, and bird watching strolls. To help you make the most of your visit, we'll provide brochures, park maps, and all sorts of information at visitor booths near the Pacheco Creek crossing and at the Orestimba Corral.
Day Use, One Night Camping, and Two Night Camping Options
Hikers and equestrians may choose to just come in for the day on Saturday or Sunday. Campers, equestrians, and backpackers can choose to camp for one or two nights. For those coming in on Friday, you may enter between 1pm and 6pm on Friday afternoon (the Bell's Station gate will close promptly at 6pm). The Bell's Station gate will be open from 8am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.
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!
Registration will be at the Bell’s Station entrance gate. Backpackers and car campers may park anywhere along the Kaiser-Aetna Road between Center Flats Road and County Line Road. 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 Saturday or Sunday in order to make it to the Bell's Station gate by 6pm.
Visitors can take advantage of free shuttle service along Kaiser-Aetna Road between Center Flats Rd. and the Orestimba Corral. In addition to passengers, shuttles will help transport camping gear.
Shuttle hours are; Friday 1pm-6pm, Saturday 8am-6pm, Sunday 8am-5pm
Each year we offer a Coe Backcountry-themed commemorative T-shirt. You can place your shirt order when filling out your application.
2020 T-shirt original artwork
Rules and Guidelines
- No tickets are sold at the Bell's Station entrance. You must have a reservation to get into the backcountry.
- Everyone is strongly encouraged to carpool. You are not limited by the number of people in the vehicle.
- Vehicles are allowed on the Kaiser-Aetna Road (the main dirt road) between Bell’s Station and County Line Road. All side roads are closed to the public.
- Please obey all traffic controls.
- Bicycles are permitted except on designated “no-bike” trails.
- Bicycles are NOT permitted in the following areas:
- Alquist Trail
- Mustang Cutoff in the downhill direction.
- Orestimba Creek Trail
- Orestimba Creek Rd. north of the Kingbird pond trailhead.
- Anywhere in the Orestimba Wilderness
- You are allowed to camp anywhere along the Kaiser-Aetna Road between Center Flats Road and County Line Road as long as your vehicle stays on the side of the road and does not block the flow of traffic.
- Dogs and firearms are not allowed.
- If you're planning to backpack, you must register first at Bell's Station.
- Camp trailers and motor homes are not allowed.
- Rain cancels the event.
- Open fires, barbecues, and hibachis are not allowed. Camp stoves are permitted.
- If you fish, you must have a fishing license and comply with the State Fish and Game regulations. We encourage catch and release with barbless hooks.
- Fishing information (pdf)