An Itinerary and Hike Walk-Through
Following up on our last blog post about why camping makes for a great corporate retreat, we want to now introduce you to a great local gem: Henry W. Coe State Park.
Coe State Park is the largest state park in Northern California and an easily accessible 2 hour drive from San Francisco (between San Jose & Gilroy).*
Furthermore, Coe has a fantastic group site (up to 50 people) and is still relatively "undiscovered," so you might just feel like the park is all yours. This post is specifically geared toward big groups, but you can modify it however you wish.
Setting A Date:
Make a reservation at a group site at Manzanita Point here: http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/henry-w-coe-sp/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=CA&parkId=120109.
We recommend a 2-night stay (e.g., leaving Monday afternoon, returning Wednesday afternoon).
Gear-Up A Week Before the Trip
Our suggested gear list:
1. Sleeping bag + pad for each person**
2. Enough tents to sleep every person***
3. Light sources: either lanterns (1 per ~5 people) or headlamps (1 per 2 people at a minimum)
4. Portable gas stove & grill (no ground fires allowed)
5. Water (there may or may not be potable water available, call ahead and check)
6. Food + beverages
7. Gear repair & first aid kits (poison oak abounds on the trails, so be wary)
8. Toilet paper + other hygiene products as desired (campsite has an outhouse, but no toilet paper or showers)
*Please note, one car is allowed to drive into the group camp site (or back and forth) with supplies. For any gear needs, you can rent from Last Minute Gear (www.lastmingear.com). They also offer an optional delivery, set-up, take-down, and return service, so your group can just show up.
**A sleeping pad is really essential, because even soft ground will feel just like concrete or hardwood floors.
*** A 2-person tent is roughly a twin size air mattress, a 4-person a queen, and a 6-person a king. Remember, camping isn't hoteling. A good recommendation for corporate groups is to assign 1 person in a 2-person tent, 2 people in a 4-person tent, and 4 people in a 6-person tent.
Optional things for fun:
Music & speakers
Swimsuits (when there isn't a drought, the swimming hole is awesome)
1st Night: Getting to Camp & Welcome Party
Since, one car is allowed to drive to the campsite with all the gear & supplies to set up camp, the rest of the company group will enjoy a mile hike into the Manzanita Point camps.
This is where “glamping” sets in. Since you can drive in supplies, we recommend splurging on a feast. Chill out for the evening, and as the sky blushes and the music starts, take a moment and let the relaxation sink in.
Before you go to sleep, take care to put away any food, drink, or odiferous objects (including many personal care supplies) into the car. There are no bears, but rodents still prowl for food.
2nd Day: The Perfect Hike & Swim
Today you're setting out for a moderate 10 mile round trip loop, but with a big group, the time will fly by. Remember to pack plenty of water and snacks, and swimming trunks if you want to take a dip.
Directions to China Hole & Madrone Soda Spring Trails:
A short step up Manzanita Point Road, there will be a trail in both directions. One is the China Hole Trail, and the other is Madrone Soda Spring Trail, though the two connect in a loop. I recommend taking Madrone Soda Spring first; the trail leads you down into the valley until you see water. Then it turns left and becomes Mile Trail, which continually zigs and zags across the creek. At the end of Mile Trail, you will have arrived at China Hole.
China Hole, if it's not so drought-y, is an awesome little swimming spot, and a perfect place to rest on the sandy beach, soak up some sun, eat snacks, and chill.
Once you leave China Hole, don't take the same trail that you came in on. For us, that meant we veered to the right to head up China Hole Trail back to camp. (China Hole Trail has one fork in the road; when you reach it, take the left path. Before you know it, you'll be back at your home-away-from-home.)
2nd Night & Last Day
Fill the last moments with fun activities, another feast, a lazy brunch, and whatever else your group is keen on doing. Before you leave, remember the Leave No Trace principle and pack out all of your trash.
That's it! We really do recommend Coe State Park, especially for big groups where the emphasis is on bonding. It's the perfect site for your next corporate retreat.