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#PixinParks Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch

The Park

picnic table on a grassy hill surrounded by trees

2019 Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Pix in Parks Challenge photo op ©Brandy Maldonado

Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch park is located east of Gilroy. This park has over 6,500 acres for recreational use! This park includes picnic areas, campsites; hiking trails and a 449 acre lake for fishing or boating!

This park is the epitome of being outside and is a great way to acquaint yourself with nature. The Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch park is well known for it's abundance of wildlife. At the park you may find wild pigs, cattle, western pond turtles, deer, turkey, bald eagles, tiger salamander and mountain lions! With over 30 miles of hiking trails, you're likely to stroll through beautiful oak forests and see breath taking views.

The Hike

Rancho La Polka Trail

Rancho La Polka Trail ©Brandy Maldonado

Have you ever been so excited to hike that you completely forget about hiking safety basics such as reading trail markers? I do, and this hike was no exception! When the trail came to a fork, I took the wrong path and ended up going a mile past the Pix in Parks destination trail! It is important to take your time when hiking, stop and smell the roses but stop and read the trail markers too. Here are some books you can find in the San Jose Public Library catalog to better prepare yourself for hiking adventures!

The Hiking CompanionBackpacking TipsBackpacker's Start-Up

I arrived at the Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch after a few days of rain, the ground was muddy but everything was green. This cow pie lined trail was an easy hike, it would have taken me 30 minutes to do the entire trail if I had not gotten lost. The hike itself was quiet, the occasional moo from a roaming cow could be heard making for a very peaceful time outdoors.

The History

1905 cattle seeking noon shade

1905 Cattle seeking noon shade. SJPL California Room, Clyde Arbuckle Photograph Collection.

The Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County park was once inhabited by the Ohlone Native American tribe for over 4,000 years. Here the Ohlone would gather nuts, berries, acorns and other vegetation for food. On this land Ohlone lived in huts made of Tule reeds.

As time went on, the land passed through many hands until being purchased by the Baumgartner family in 1940 and sold to Harvey Bear in 1960. Harvey Bear ran cattle and raised his family on the ranch until his passing in 1994. In 1997, the Santa Clara County Parks & Recreation Department purchased the land and it opened for public use in 2005.

#PixinParks Challenge

For more information on the #PixinParks challenge check out the Santa Clara County Parks Department challenge website or here on my San Jose Public Library blog post describing the challenge.

Further Reading on the Ohlone Tribe

The OhloneThe Snake That Lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains & Other Ohlone StoriesThe Ohlone Way

Further reading in the California Room

Special thanks to our friends at the Santa Clara County Parks Department for making this challenge available for Santa Clara County residents.

Blog Category
Adult Nonfiction
Local History

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