We rode Coe yesterday, May 18, 2006. This is an incredibly beautiful park and I would recommend riding here during the cooler months of the year ONLY. The heat is a significant factor.
Here is some good practical advice for riding Coe;
1- Coe is typically 10-15 degrees warmer than Morgan Hill. For example Morgan Hill was 88 degrees and it was 104 at Coe.
2- Your average speed will be about half of what you are accustom to. It took us 4 hours to go 18 miles. The roads go straight up and down with no switchbacks and there is very little that is flat.
3- There is a ton of excellent single track. Many trees are down from the winter, and the grass is thick and there is poison oak EVERYWHERE. We pulled a few ticks too.
4- There are only 2 Rangers at Coe, which is over 85,000 acres. Be well prepared to get yourself out of trouble. Cell phones are useless. We saw absolutely no one the entire ride, so expect it to be quite remote so a major mechanical problem or injury could be a serious problem or a very long walk out.
5- The Coe HQ Ranger station is at 2,800 feet and you will need to climb back up to get to your car, so save enough water and energy to make it back.
6- Do not attempt Coe unless you are a very experienced rider who has very good cardiovascular endurance. I burned around 3,500 calories in four hours. The trails are not very technical, but they are well-designed and very fun. Some of the literature out there overstate the dangers of Coe, but you better be prepared for a lot of climbing and heavy exertion the entire ride.
7- Provisions; Map, lots of water, highly concentrated sports drink (electrolytes), food, SPF 45, DEET. Every tool and extra part you can carry and chain lube (multiple water crossings will dry out your drive train)
I may not have everything here but you should get the general idea that you need to be very well prepared for riding Coe and be completely self-sufficient.
Ride time is 4-5 hours- Coe Ranch HQ to Manzanita Point Road, left on Flat Frog Trail, right on Hobbs Rd, right on Middle Ridge Trail, left on Poverty Flat Rd, right on Mahoney Meadows Rd, right on Lost Spring Trail, right on China Hole Trail, right on Manzanita Point Rd. and this takes you back to Coe Ranch HQ.
Summary: I drove out to Henry Coe (HQ) for the first time today. I expected there to be a lot of climbing, but I've never experienced fire road climbs that were quite so brutal. I ended up doing 25 miles and my Garmin reported 5300' of elevation gain. I don't mind climbing, but the grades of some of the fire roads were just plain mean. I'm riding a 1x10 with a 32 up front and a 36 for the granny, and I was struggling to turn it over. For the first time in my life, I actually walked part of a fire road climb. Other than that, I enjoyed the singletrack. Middle ridge was fun, though a little overgrown. I didn't enjoy China Hole as much as other people seem to (lots of sloped sandy trail through Manzanita). In the future, I'll ride China Hole in the other direction (towards park HQ, rather than away from it).
I would strongly recommend purchasing the good topo map from park rangers (as opposed to the crappy ones they give you for free). It helped me get out before I really blew up.
Recommended Route: HQ -> Manzanita Road -> Flat Frog -> Hobbs Road -> Middle Ridge -> Poverty Flat (right onto PF from Middle Ridge) -> Manzanita Point Road (stop and fill up on water) -> China Hole -> Lost Spring Trail -> Mahoney Meadows Road -> The Narrows Trail -> Blue Ridge Road -> Poverty Flat Road -> Manzanita Road -> HQ
Other recommended trails in the same area: Mid-Peninsula Open Space Preserves (Coal Creek, Russian Ridge, Windy Hill, etc.), Skeggs (El Corte de Madera), Demo (Soquel Demonstration Forest), Wilder Ranch, Anadel State Park
Summary: An HD video summary of the Middle Ridge & China Hole loop at Henry Coe:
Henry Coe is a singletrack gem tucked away in a rocky, live-oak valley outside Morgan Hill, CA. Coe is an IMBA Epic and rated as a Top Ten California singletrack with long, lung busting climbs and fast, rolling descents. The Middle Ridge to China Hole route is a popular 15 mile, 4400 ft elevation max singletrack loop.
Summary: After reading a couple of the reviews about Henry Coe I decided I would try it out. Coming from Fremont it took my brother and I about an hour to get to Henry Coe. It was definitely not worth the drive. Very nasty climb with hot and dry weather. The climbs were not worth the dh. I would have rather went to Coyote Hills by my house and that's not saying much.
Summary: Henry Coe is definitely not for beginners. Had to learn that the hard way...Haha. The uphill climb is as close to death as it comes so get ready to feel the burn! The downhill is challenging as well with rugged terrains and quite dangerous if you do not have much experience. Experienced my first crash! YEAH :)! Aside from all that, beautiful scenery, very very limited human contact, and beautiful wild life. Saw my first wild Turkey!
If you are thinking of doing this trail, bring tons and tons of water, tools, Clif bars, and more water. Henry Coe is definitely for experienced riders who have great, great cardiovascular endurance.
Needless to say, we finished the trail...exhausted and wanting to kick Coe's ass!
Summary: This is a review for a hard-to-find kid friendly, mine are 5 and 7, out and back mountain bike ride. From Hunters Hollow, proceed out Wagon Road. The climb is about 400 feet over a little over 3.5 miles, with many creek crossings. In mid May about 5 of these had enough water in them to make it very fun for Dad to crash through, but a little deep for the kids and wife. There were about 3 others that served them well. As you approach about 2.5 miles the creek dries and the trail does begin to climb a bit more. We stopped at Wilson's camp just before the steep uphill switch back. The ride was very kid friendly, with some single track available that parallels nearby Wagon Road, lots of wildlife to see and the all the creek crossings were filled with pollywogs to try and catch. The climb is balanced enough to challenge them and provide a fun return downhill, but not grind them out. Its a good "real" mountain bike ride if you are introducing them to the sport.