China Hole Hike – Henry Coe State Park

Today I completed my second hike in Henry Coe State Park, a 10-mile loop to China Hole and back. My comrade Tom Krcha came along with me and we arrived at park HQ at around 10:30.

China Hole is one the most popular hikes at Henry Coe as its length and difficulty makes it rewarding for both beginners and more experienced hikers. We followed the route from this guide on TripAdvisor, taking the Madrone Soda Springs Trail on the way out.

Lunch at China Hole

Lunch at China Hole

The hike has a total elevation gain of 2204 ft, with the toughest section being right after the turn-around point on China Hole Trail.

The destination - China Hole

The destination – China Hole

There were quite a few other people out due to the weekend and excellent weather. The park is so huge however that it never really feels crowded. So far I’ve only just scratched the surface of what this park has to offer.

Me, Krcha, and Coe

The next hike I want to tackle at Coe is a monster 25-mile hike to Mississippi Lake and back with 6000 feet of total elevation gain. Will probably get a couple more weeks of training in before attempting this though.

Here is the RunKeeper info for today’s hike:


Henry Coe State Park Mt. Sizer Loop Hike

The other day I tackled what many people consider to be the toughest trail in the Bay Area. Of course there are so many things that can factor into the toughness of a hike so I take this designation with a grain of salt.

The Mt. Sizer Loop is a 15-16 mile loop hike through the beautiful Henry Coe State Park near Morgan Hill. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the park’s headquarters from San Jose. I arrived around 08:30, paid the park fees, and was off hiking by about 09:00.


5.11 Tactical RUSH 72 pack

I used my 5.11 Tactical RUSH 72 pack with 2 CamelBack reservoirs containing diluted Gatorade. I sweat a lot more than most people so this amount of hydration is definitely necessary. I also carried some energy chews, a cliff bar, and some trail mix. I also brought along my new SOG SEAL Pup knife. Didn’t think I’d actually need it for anything but I had just bought it and it made my pack look badass!

The Shortcut

Everything I’ve read about this hike mentions this one brutal section known as the Shortcut. It is a 1400 ft ascent in only 1.4 miles. When I got to the bottom of it I was feeling great so I just went for it without taking a break. That probably wasn’t the best idea as it was very steep and seemed to go on forever. Unlike other steep hikes there aren’t really any switchbacks to make things easier. My legs were burning by the time I reached the top.

The Shortcut looks easy in this photo. It's not.

The Shortcut is harder than it looks here.

After the Shortcut you are very close to the top of Mt. Sizer. Now don’t get too excited as it’s not much of mountain to look at. The views from here are beautiful in all directions though. From here you start a long downhill trek to the Poverty Flat campground.

There were a some forks in the trail that were not marked so I made a couple of mistaken detours. I’m guessing this added about an extra mile onto my total. Here are the stats from RunKeeper:


Henry Coe State Park allows open camping in some areas so I definitely would love to do an overnight here someday. Also doing this hike in the middle of the night would be pretty interesting.

Updated Version of Response for Brackets

I’m excited to announce (although a little late) that my responsive design extension for Brackets, known as Response, has been updated to work in the latest version of the tool. Now before I go on I have to give the full credit for this update to Chen-Heng Chang. Make sure you give him some love on Twitter (@kidwm). Go on over to his fork of the project to get the code.

He has also made the extension available using the Brackets Extension Manager (thanks @ikwasben):

Brackets Extension Manager

Until I can get his changes merged over you can consider his fork as the official repository for the project for the time being.

There are detailed instructions for how to setup and install the extension in the latest version of Brackets on the repository’s main page. The final step (installing the extension) only has instructions for Windows. For those on a Mac here is the path you need:

~/Library/Application\ Support/Brackets/extensions/user

Important: there are still many bugs remaining so I will be doing an updated video tutorial in the next couple of days. Until then please refer to this video.