Henry W. Coe State Park: Burra Burra Geology Hike Loop
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Burra Burra loopShort hike : 2.5-3 miles, 1.5-3 hours
Burra Burra Trail-Center Flats Road-Hersman Pond TrailThe origin of the name Burra Burra is a mystery but, per Teddy Goodrich in Names on the Land. A History of Henry W. Coe State Park, “ ‘burren’ means a place of rock in Gaelic. The Burren is a rocky limestone region in western Ireland.”
Optional: Pick up a copy of the geology brochure in the visitor center and watch for the geologic features described as you hike around Burra Burra.
Follow the trail up the hill behind the Dowdy Ranch visitor center. The trail is quite steep, so take your time. When you get to the road, walk up to the top of the hill where a trail sign marks the beginning of the Burra Burra Trail and turn right (west). The ﬁrst mile is steadily uphill, with gorgeous views of the San Carlos range to the south. Just before the trail turns left (west) and drops downhill, you’ll see ahead an open track up the slope to the top of Burra Burra. This is an optional side trip, a short, steep scramble to the top of Burra Burra where you can sign the peak register and enjoy views in all directions, including the Dunne Avenue visitor center visible on Pine Ridge in the distance to the northwest. When you get back down from Burra Burra Peak, the trail drops steadily downhill, curves to the north, and then climbs to the west shoulder of Burra Burra. There’s another optional side trip from here to the lower of the two Burra Burra Peaks. From the west shoulder of Burra Burra, the trail drops down to Center Flats Road where you turn right (east), climb a little, then drop downhill to a trail junction. Rather than following Center Flats Road, turn right (east) on to Hersman Pond Trail and drop downhill back toward Kaiser-Aetna Road. It’s fun to take a very short side trip to Hersman Pond to see if there’s any water in it. Some years the pond is full, other years it’s mud and reeds. When the trail reaches the road, you can either walk up the road and back to the visitor center or you can turn left (east), cross the ﬁeld, and visit the oak “cathedral,” which is a cool leafy retreat even on the hottest days, before climbing back up the hill to the Dowdy Ranch visitor center. You can do this hike either clockwise or counterclockwise; this description describes the clockwise loop.