Meteor watching in Henry Coe

Meteor watching in Henry Coe

On a Saturday morning I was browsing Reddit and saw that the Perseid meteor shower was at its peak right now so we very last minute planned to go into Henry Coe to watch it. Dark skies are somewhat hard to get to around the Bay Area, and we thought a short backpacking trip would be fun.

Details, at least as far as I remember


We camped at Mahoney Meadows, a 7.8 mile hike from the trailhead. I picked this area to be in a ridgetop area for better stargazing, and also because it's one of the closest dispersed camping spots from the entrance. The trail is flat for the first few miles through Manzanita Camp, then switchbacks down to China Hole (nice creek area), continue for a mile through the Narrows (narrow section where the trail follows Coyote Creek), then climbs back up onto the ridge. There is a restroom right when you get to the ridge. We camped a little past the restroom. There was no one else there and we didn't try too hard to find a nice spot because it was already getting dark.

Trip stats

Dates: Aug 12-13, 2024
Distance: 15.6 miles
Elevation: +/- 1500 feet
Permits required: Self registered
Bear cans required: No
Map: see official site

I don't remember what the permit situation was. I think we self-registered even though we started at the visitor center trailhead because we started so late.

We carried enough water for the whole trip; however, it is possible to filter water at China Hole, Lost Spring, or even Mahoney Pond, which is close to the camping area.

Photo log

Day 1: Hiking in


We had a late start at 4:30pm. By 6:30 we had made it to China Hole.

There was water at China Hole but the creek in the Narrows section was mostly dry. There were clumps of hardened white river plant matter everywhere.

It was already dark, so we quickly found a site as soon as we reached the top of the ridge.

For a while we could see the sky but more clouds were moving in. We did see some meteors (meteors not pictured). Then we went to sleep. A few times throughout the night I checked whether stars were visible, but it was too cloudy.

Day 2: Hiking out

We were up by 7:30am, at which point it was already very bright outside, and in our tent, which had been set up without the rain fly.

Lost Spring

There were a lot of tiny frogs in the Narrows section. You could see them pop out as you walked past them, jumping into the water. We also saw a cute gopher snake.

Gopher snake