This 4,595-acre regional recreation area, nestled in the hills east of Gilroy, CA, features a 635-acre lake for fishing and boating. Coyote Lake has a “world-class” population of Black Bass, as well as bluegill, black crappie, and Eurasian carp. Both powered and non-powered vessels can ply the waters of the lake.
Coyote-Bear provides habitats for many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and mammals. The park is home to rare western pond turtle, California Tiger Salamander and bay checkerspot butterfly. Two-Hundred-Nineteen species of birds have been seen, including our “National Bird” the bald eagle. During your visit you can also be sure to see black-tailed deer, and turkeys. Even mountain lions have been seen by visitors in the park’s hinterlands.
The park provides campsites for 73 RV and tent campers. All sites have a table, grill/fire pit, and food storage locker. RV sites have electricity, water hook-ups; and a dump station is located nearby. Hot showers are available to all campers.
Hikers, horseback riders and off-road bicyclists can explore over 35 miles of trails that wind through cool oak forests and along breezy ridgelines with wonderful views. At the Bear Ranch Trailhead in San Martin, there is a 2-mile paved loop that is popular with joggers, dog-walkers, and people just wanting to get outside to exercise and get some fresh air.
Coyote-Bear is a great place visit, close to home, yet a world away!
How to Get There
There are three entrances into Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park:
Bear Ranch – from U.S. Highway 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, one-quarter mile east of Foothill Avenue.
Mendoza Ranch – From U.S. Highway 101 in Gilroy, take the Leavesley Road exit. Proceed east on Leavesley Road 2 miles to New Avenue. Proceed north on New Avenue .5 miles to Roop Road. Proceed east on Roop Road 3 miles into the foothills. Turn left into the park.
Coyote Lake – From U.S. Highway 101 in Gilroy., take the Leavesley Road exit. Proceed east on Leavesley Road 2 miles to New Avenue. Proceed north on New Avenue .5 miles to Roop Road. Proceed 3.5 miles east on Roop Road into the foothills past the Mendoza Ranch entrance. Turn left into the park and proceed one mile north to the entrance station and visitor center.
Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park offers a myriad of outdoor activities.
Start your visit at the park visitor center. There you can see exhibits on local wildlife, including live reptiles amphibians and fish that are native to the park. Here you can also pay park fees, purchase annual park passes, check-in to your campsite, purchase firewood, and pick-up park information. Rangers provide interpretative programs year-round. Between Memorial Day weekend and the end of September, Rangers and Docents conduct campfire programs on Saturday evening. Finally, Ranger-lead programs take place monthly throughout the park.
Three-mile long Coyote Lake provides opportunities for power boating, jetskiing, waterskiing, sailing, canoeing/kayaking and fishing. Swimming is not allowed by order of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The boat launch ramp is located two miles north of the visitor center. It has two docks, a 3-lane concrete ramp, paved parking and a restroom. For fisherman, the lake contains bluegill, black crappie, channel catfish, carp and black bass. The lake is closed to boating of all kind between mid-October to mid-April.
Family picnic sites are located at numerous locations along the west shoreline. BBQ picnic facilities are located south of the Anglers Cove picnic area. The Lakeview Campground is located .5 miles north of the visitor center. It provides campers with 73 reservable sites. 18 sites have water and electric hook-ups for RV’s. Each site has a paved slip, picnic table, BBQ/campfire pit and food locker. There is a RV dump station in the park. The campground also has three restrooms, a shower building (no charge), and numerous drinking water taps. Campground check-out time is 1:00 p.m.. Campground check-in time is 3:00 p.m. View more information on camping. Call (408) 355-2201 to make a camping reservation or go online at https://www.gooutsideandplay.org.
The Bear and Mendoza Ranch sections of the park have 35 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails that wind through oak studded canyons; and on top of grassy ridgelines, providing spectacular views of southern Santa Clara Valley. Trailheads can be found in all three sections of the park.
Hours and Fees
Vehicle entry fees are collected year-round. Fees are required for camping. Fees are also required for boating and boating inspections. Fees are posted at the entrance kiosk. The park is open for general day use from 8 am to sunset. The lake closes to boating each day one-half hour before sunset. The park is open for “shoreline fishing only” 24-hours a day.
Park Trails Hotline: (408) 355-2200, press 7, then press 2 for trail closure information. For general open/close information, please call (408) 355-2200 and press 7 for a listing of parks.