Henry W. Coe State Park - Top of the Ridge Hike
Outing in Henry W. Coe State Park
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Description: this hike takes you to the top of Pine Ridge for magnificent views to the south, west, and east. If you spend some time up on the ridge top, it could become one of your favorite places.
Route: See the map on the other side. Start at Manzanita Point Road, hike up the paved road a few hundred feet, and turn left on Monument Trail, which zigzags up fairly steeply, following the contours of the hill. When you come to trail junction, you've made it to the top. Turn right and go about 200 yards to the road. The monument is just across the road. Sada Coe put the monument in place many years ago as a memorial to her father, the park's namesake. When you leave the monument, turn right on Hobbs Road and go to the top of the ridge. At that point, you'll see a short trail to the right that will take you to a picnic table with wonderful views to the east. On clear days, you can see john Muir's "range of light, " the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and with binoculars you can sometimes pick out Half Dome in Yosemite. When you return on the road, turn right and continue on Hobbs Road a few hundred feet to the next trail junction. Turn left on the trail and continue until you return to the headquarters yet. Turn right. The sign will say, " Vista Point" and you'll be on the Ponderosa Trail. As you walk along this trail, you'll see more of the Diablo Range to the south with the interesting peaks of the Quin Sabe Volcanic Field east of Hollister. And to the southwest, you'll see the Santa Lucias, with peaks over 5,000 feet tall In about five minutes you'll come to Eric's Bench, The bench was placed there by family and friends as a memorial to Eric David May, who died in a fall on Mt. Shasta in 1988 at the age of 26. You can sit on the bench and enjoy the peace and beauty that always seem to grace the top of Pine Ridge. To the west, you'll have a fine view of the Santa Clara Valley with the Santa Cruz Mountains beyond. When you leave the bench, continue on the Ponderosa Trail behind the bench. The trail will go through the ponderosa pine forest on the back side of Mt. Hamilton to the north. As you continue around the loop, you'll come out on the west side of the ridge with more views of the Santa Clara Valley and Santa Cruz mountains. It's likely that you'll see a red-tailed hawk, or turkey vultures, and you might even see a kestrel, smallest of our falcons. Continue back to Eric's Bench and back to the junction with the Monument Trail. Turn right and return to park headquarters.