Latitude: 37.181 Longitude -121.403
Situated about an hour from San Jose, Henry Coe is the second largest state park in California. It only has two rangers for more than 100 square miles. However, there is a volunteer force of more than 120 people who help out, give tours, and permit the park to even be open as long as it is. The drive from Morgan Hill is a long and twisty mountain road.
We arrived as the weekend rains continued yet a group of backpackers were heading out as others were returning. Inside the visitor center you can buy drinks, get warm, read pamphlets and books on the history and wildlife of the park and see an historical exhibit of the ranch that formed the basis for the park. Admission is $5.00 and camping is a few dollars more. Off-season there is no reason to reserve spots, so save money by not using the online booking system.
Nancy and I went on a wildflower hike with two knowledgeable volunteers. I realized how very little I know about nature as they identified tiny specimens and plants all along the muddy trail. Most notable was a plant that smelled like cilantro as you walked by or touched its leaf. The most striking trees are the manzanitas, one of which is pictured here.