Rolling green hills punctuated by carpets buttercups and poppies: Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park in Gilroy seems positively sun-kissed in spring. It’s the best time of year to hike here, before summer heat sets in. Go on a 4.2-mile loop hike framed by the towering Santa Cruz Mountains and festooned in flowers.
Starting from the Harvey Bear Ranch entrance, set out along the Willow Springs Trail, keeping to the right. As you begin the gentle uphill climb, you’re likely to pass by groups of grazing cows. The trail is mostly exposed, with oak trees, seasonal green hills, and fields of buttercup everywhere! Veer left at the sign for the Townsprings Trail, which flattens out as it cuts across the hills, with views of the city of Gilroy backed by the mountains.
A final uphill climb connects to Harvey Bear Trail for the descent, which gently winds among the hills with views all along the way. When you see the small pond, you’re almost there! Enjoy the last stretch of sun as you make your way back to the trailhead.
From U.S. Hwy. 101 in San Martin, take the San Martin Ave. exit. Proceed east on San Martin Ave. for 2 miles. The entrance to the park is on the left, 0.25 mile east of Foothill Ave. Dog-friendly!