This is Henry Coe the hard way: 15 miles with over 4,000 feet of ascent and a chance to test your legs on the "Short Cut" --... more » consensus pick as the San Francisco Bay Area's toughest trail.
Henry W. Coe State Park sprawls over more than 87,000 acres of high ridges and low valleys southeast of San Jose. It once belonged to a rancher named Henry Willard Coe; his heirs donated the ranch that would become the state park bearing his name.
The park has few amenities, but has abundant trails for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. The hike to Mount Sizer goes deep into the heart of the park, where the views from the heights seem to go on forever (occasionally the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra are visible on clear winter days).
To hike into this remote country is to see it as it stood for thousands of years before the first European settlers arrived. Some of the hills are scarred by wildfires of recent vintage, but the sight of green reclaiming the blackened landscape can't help but cheer you up.
Make no mistake: this is a very tough trek and you'll need all the cheer you can get. less «