I know lakes and other natural formations can be named for obvious reasons. The Great Salt Lake is salty. Crater lake exists thanks to…well, a crater. And many lakes are named after the nearby town, state or region.
These names make complete sense, but for some reason, when our visit to Henry W. Coe State Park near San Jose, California involved a hike to Frog Lake, I didn’t believe there would actually be real, live frogs involved.
Coe State Park is huge. With over 87,000 acres it’s the largest state park in northern California (and the 2nd largest in the state), so we barely scratched the surface with our morning visit here. We did spend enough time though to realize that the area is incredibly beautiful. What a treat to exit the suburbs and sprawling towns of the bay area and enter a land of stately oak trees, rolling hills, and mountains in the distance.
We started off improvising a bit meandering around to see the monument dedicated to Henry W. Coe by his daughter in his memory. We also found pine cones that were literally the size of Bergen’s head! Soon we got down to business though. We were so curious. Was Frog Lake shaped like a frog? Would there be enormous bull frogs there greeting us? Would we hear the telltale “ribbit”?
The answer wasn’t clear when we first arrived, but as we made our way around the perimeter of the small lake, Slaed started to notice something. Looking ahead at the water’s edge every time we stepped a little closer, hundreds of tiny frogs would hop back into the water! Yup, there really are little hoppers at Frog Lake. Likely thousands of them. You can bet we had lots of fun with this; testing out how the frogs would react to different approaches and speeds. We unfortunately couldn’t get too close to the shore since the mud acted much like quicksand.
It was here where Bergen got to ditch the backpack carrier and do some hiking on his own. He gathered sticks and rocks, threw leaves, and made sure to point out any deposits he noticed on the trail. It might be time to get him a tracking book!
Though we were visiting on a weekday, we were surprised at the lack of people at the park. We only ran into one set of fellow hikers, and it makes me wonder why this amazing resource isn’t used more?
Info To Know:
- Henry W. Coe State Park is located in Morgan Hill, California (near San Jose):
- 9000 East Dunne Avenue Morgan Hill, CA 95037
- Features include plenty of hiking trails, campgrounds, hot springs, mountain biking trails, and fishing.
- Visit in spring for amazing wildflower viewing.
- Day Use Fees vary between $6-8 depending on the entrance used. Annual passes for all California State Parks are also available.
- Strollers not recommended.
Do you visit state parks in your home state or when you travel? Tell us about your favorite spots!
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