Walsh Peak Trail, Pacheco Camp @ Henry Coe State Park


I had been to Pacheco Camp a few times before, but never had a chance to camp there. It has a great old cabin (no access!), plus clean fresh water and a cold shower, piped from a spring uphill.

During the recent Backcountry Weekend I was again reminded that the abandoned trail across Walsh Peak had been restored about 2 years ago. I had a free weekend, and I hadn’t been bikepacking in awhile…

With a bit of free time for an overnight, I headed to the (summer weekends only) Dowdy Ranch entrance. I registered for my trip, including leaving my car overnight. http://coepark.net/pineridgeassociation/planning-your-visit/visitor-centers-and-park-entrances/dowdy-ranch-visitor-center

Just after you leave the Visitor’s Center, you’ll see this welcoming sign, below!


Welcome to Henry Coe! 20% grade is perfectly normal!

…and below is Tie Down Peak. (Never again! https://alpharoaming.com/2012/09/26/rattlesnake-adrenaline-rush-tie-down-peak-at-henry-coe/


Tie Down Peak!

“Hole in the Rock” is a beautiful swimming hole, just upstream from Pacheco Crossing. It was clean, clear, and flowing, though it can dry-up in the summer


Beautiful flowing water “Hole in the Rock”

Below shows the forces of this past winter’s floods. This “trickling” creek left flood debris 8 feet up, in a wide channel!


Flood debris, 8 feet up.

Finally, I see pink ribbons about where the steep side Walsh Peak Trail should be. No brown signposts yet, so you need to study the map and know where the trail should be. Below you can see how steep the climb is: 1000 feet, over one mile, and this is just the beginning!


Starting my climb!

Below, the ecosystem changes as you go up. I saw one Horned Toad up around here. I couldn’t take a picture without my loaded bike falling off the mountain (seriously!)


The ecosystem changes

The summit register, below!


The summit!

This log, below, was done by some influential people at Coe. I heard this hike helped start the effort to restore the trail


Old summit register

The loaded bike near the summit. About 65 pounds, in total, including my heavy winter sleeping bag. I was cold at Backcountry Weekend and this day was even chillier. It was worth carrying!

The climb was about 2/3 the height of the Mt Sizer “Shortcut” that I did 3 years ago. (Third photo shows the same bikepack rig, with more water and less sleeping bag! https://alpharoaming.com/2013/10/05/bikepacking-henry-coe-state-park-day-1/ )


About 1/4 mile from the top

Heading down, with some random dead tree, to remind us that there hasn’t been a debris-clearing fire here in many years.



The barbed-wire fence on the left is the line between Santa Clara County and Stanislaus County, which passes over Walsh Peak.


The easy way out!

The camp! Enough sunlight to take a quick, chilly, shower, and lay out on a picnic table in the sun.


Pacheco Camp

Headed back the next day, sweeping across the ridge to the right, and over the distant summit.


Heading back, over yonder peak!


Rest…I have all day!

Strava link, showing 16.5 miles and 3719 feet of climbing https://www.strava.com/activities/986641353

That’s it! Plan you trip carefully. Bring lots of water and tell someone your route! http://coepark.net/pineridgeassociation/ I also carry a DeLorme InReach satellite communicator. Cell phone signals are available on some ridges and peaks. Enjoy!

About AlphaRoaming

Random outdoor roaming: hiking, cycling, camping, backpacking & plotting more of the above Grew up on the edges of the Adirondack mountains of New York, just a bit west of Vermont. Now living in Silicon Valley and venturing out when and where I can!
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2 Responses to Walsh Peak Trail, Pacheco Camp @ Henry Coe State Park

  1. Paul Liebenberg says:

    FWIW Walsh Peak is well within Santa Clara County; the WPT follows the county line along the ridge about halfway and then the county line swings to the north towards Mustang Peak along a different ridge.

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