Horse camping at Henry Coe
Henry Coe Park is actively encouraging equestrian camping at the park.That said, horse camping at Henry Coe is not a walk in the park — plan for an authentic backcountry camping experience.
While equestrians are welcome to pack into almost any area of the park, there are six established horse camps, of which five are pack-in sites.
Coit Camp, is a pack in horse camp site at the south side of the park. The campsite is at the heart of some of the best trails in Henry Coe, including a portion of the historic De Anza trail. Kelly Lake and Coit Lake are an easy 4 to 5-mile ride from camp.
Coit camp is essentially a dry camp. Nonpotable water is available from two water troughs that are filled from two storage tanks. Rain is the only source of water at Coit camp, so the water supply is limited and unpredictable. There may be no water remaining at the end of a very dry season.
A cattle pen provides a place for your horse, and the camp has picnic tables and a non-flush toilet facility. No fires are allowed. Good camping in all seasons, weather permitting, however the months of July and August are extremely hot.
The entrance to Coit Camp is located at Coyote Creek, about two miles beyond the Hunting Hollow entrance on Gilroy Hot Springs Road. You should pay your fees at the Hunting Hollow entrance before riding to the camp.
On special occasions Coit Camp might be vehicle accessible, but only during Pine Ridge Association sponsored events where State Park volunteers are on site. Usually there is a Coit Camp Outing once a year that you can apply for. See the Event Calendar for dates and details.
Blue Oak Horse Camp can be used as a horse camp that you can trailer into from Coe Park Headquarters. Though it had been classified as a horse camp in the past, it has been reclassified as a group camp with the same fee schedule as the Manzanita Point group camp. Nothing larger than a two-horse trailer is allowed on the 2-mile stretch of dirt road to the camp.Trailers longer than 20 feet are NOT recommended and gooseneck trailers are NOT allowed due to the narrow curvy access road. No more than two rigs are allowed at Blue Oak Horse Camp. Extra vehicles can be parked in the overflow lot. Bass Pond has good fishing and water for the horses and is about 100 yards from the campsite. Oak trees shade the camp area. There are two pipe corrals. You'll need to pack in water for your own consumption. If you want to use the Blue Oak campsite, check in advance with park staff about the condition of the dirt road, camp availability, and special regulations. Fees would be paid through Reserve California.
The other horse camps are pack-in sites located near lakes, springs or creeks. Some have a permanent non-flush toilet nearby. There is no potable water at any of the camps except at headquarters and Dowdy Ranch.
- If you camp in the Western Area of the park, you must camp in a designated horse camp. (The Western Area is the camping zone that extends 5 to 8 miles out from park headquarters.)
- Outside the Western Zone, parties are limited to four horses, and you can camp wherever you like (including the Orestimba Wilderness), with the following exceptions:
- You must always camp at least 100 feet from any lake, pond, creek, or spring.
- If you're packing into the park from the Coyote Creek or Hunting Hollow entrance, you must camp at least one-half mile from the entrance.
- Always try to camp out of sight of other campers.
Listed below are approximate distances to designated horse camps from Hunting Hollow:
|ENTRANCE||HORSE CAMP||APPROXIMATE DISTANCE*|
|Hunting Hollow||Coit Camp||5 miles|
|Hunting Hollow||Coit Lake||10.5 miles
|Hunting Hollow||Mississippi Creek||17 miles|
|Hunting Hollow||Arnold Horse Camp||10 miles|
|Hunting Hollow||Brem Horse Camp||16 miles|
|* By shortest route|
- Equestrian groups are limited to four horses except in the designated horse camps.
- Camp stoves are usually permitted at all the campsites. Fires are allowed only at the Blue Oak Horse Camp and only in the pit that is provided. Wood gathering is prohibited in the park. You can bring your own firewood or purchase wood at the Visitor Center. During periods of extreme fire danger, all forms of open flame may be prohibited.
- Firearms are not allowed in the park.
- Dogs are not allowed in the backcountry.
- Please pack out all your trash.
- Bury human waste and wash dishes at least 100 feet from any lake, pond, stream, or spring.
- You should purify any backcountry water that you're going to consume.
- Springs and creeks on the map might not have water. Ask park staff about water availability when you register.
- Be sure to take a map with you. Maps are available in the Visitor Center.
- Some trails and roads, particularly in the Orestimba Wilderness, are in poor condition and some are hard to find. Ask park staff about the condition of roads and trails on your planned route.