Running at Henry Coe State Park

Looking over Hunting Hollow in Henry Coe State Park
Looking over Hunting Hollow in Henry Coe State Park

Went on a nice trail run at Henry Coe State Park yesterday and wanted to share.

Two friends and I met at the Hunting Hollow entrance around 7:45 AM. It took 15 minutes from 101 to get there.

It was freakin’ cold!  There was a surprising number of frosted cars that had clearly spent the night, their camping owners bundled up somewhere in the hinterlands.  We took off to frosted grass and dirt crunching under our shoes.

The blue line on the map below shows our course, but what we learned is that the options are endless.  Henry Coe State Park is the largest in California, with over 81,000 miles.  It is a series of high ridges, steep canyons and occasional flat lands.  The majority of ridges run 2000-3000 feet while the canyons average 1000-1500 ft.  Its highest peak measures 3560 ft. in elevation. 

We started on a pretty flat course until the second left turn, Phegley Trail/Ridge Road. The first climb was over 1100′ in under a mile (our estimate). Not sure what our total elevation gain / loss was, but  there were enough climbs to keep it interesting.  The whole loop was a nice mix of single track, open space, steep and rolling hills.  It wasn’t too tough, but just tough enough for a social Sunday trail run with athletes who dig mud, rocks and hills.

Beautiful 10 Mile Trail Run at Henry Coe
Beautiful 10 Mile Trail Run at Henry Coe: Click to view larger

We were cruising up and down at a leisurely pace, chatting the whole time. Two of us were on a down week and one is just starting Boston marathon training. Nobody was in a rush. When it’s just you, a few friends, open sky, long trails and hours to kill, you talk about all sorts of things.   My two friends are running the Transrockies Run 125-mile, 6-stage race across the Colorado Rockies.  I am living vicariously through them by asking everything I can think of to ask!  We had a great time talking all about it for two hours.

As we talked, we took in the views.  They were stunning, especially around the two ridges we traversed.  In fact, we all said they equal any we’ve seen on a Pacific Coast Trail Run.  In fact, this section of the park makes a great training ground for PCTR races.  I plan to add it to my repertoiret.

Speaking of my repertoire, I feel great training for my next 50K, which takes place February 28th.  I am fairly religious about four things: back-to-back long runs, combo hill/tempo runs, my weekly mileage (which is now over 50), enjoying myself and the people who run with me.  I also have broken out my plantar fasciitis preventative regime.  I recently wrote about the injury, which reminded me to stretch and man did I need it!  So I am back to it multiple times a day.  The next thing I am figuring out is nutrition.  I am not sure how to get all the right calories I need.  I went shopping today and loaded up on runner’s staples such as cereal, berries, broccoli, salmon, avocado, and tons of fruit and vegetables. Being a vegetarian, who is picky and who tires of pasta quickly makes it tough in the nutrition department.

Now I am rambling in my own blog.  Ha!  Well, that’s the update.  Hope you enjoy the run at Henry Coe!  Maybe I will see you up there!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for the info. Sounds like a great place to run. I had to forgo my weekend long run because of some hip pain, and it drives me crazy because I can’t quite locate it, and can’t figure out what causes it. Just showed up out of nowhere last week, and I’m hoping it doesn’t screw up plans for next weekend- . Want to join the group for all or part of the run? I signed up and am hoping to be able to run more than just a few miles.

  2. AR Guide says:

    Nice report! I had never even heard of this park before seeing your post. After clicking through to the park site, I can see it is a place I need to visit.

  3. runrunrunrun says:

    It is beautiful and something of a secret. Even people in the Bay Area don’t know it’s here. Only 40,000 people visit each year.

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