“A steep climb up Mission Peak with great views of the southern half of the bay.”
— Chris Tallman
Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The parking lot closes at sunset; if planning to be later you should start at Ohlone College. Look for posted hours-- they are strictly enforced and violators will be subject to a minimum of $300 citations and/or arrest.
This route takes you up to a saddle on the route to the top of Mission Peak, and it's a great trail with stunning views of the southern bay area. Runners are rewarded with views of Mount Hamilton to the south, the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, Mt. Tamalpais to the north, and Mt. Diablo and the Sierra Nevada to the northeast.
The route starts of as a doubletrack with crushed gravel but quickly turns to a mostly dirt doubletrack. There are plenty of spots to stop and catch your breath and enjoy the view (and forget your in one of the most populated metro areas in the US).
Need to Know
Bring plenty of water as it is not available on the trail.
Can be busy at times, and be careful of the many gopher-like rodents hopping along the trail. Hiking, biking, dog walking and horseback riding are popular activities available in the Regional Preserve.
This ascent of Mission Peak begins from a well established trailhead with limited parking. Especially on weekends, you'll want to get going earlier in the morning to secure a parking spot. The trail is wide and quite popular with day runners, and those looking to watch the sunset. Due to the popularity of the trail, please be courteous to others that you'll see along the way.
This trail starts off fairly navigable but gets steep quickly, with the steepest sections pitching up to 25%. The climb to the summit is fairly sustained, though you'll get a little bit of a break when you make your way around numerous switchbacks. The trail is pretty exposed, so you might want to bring water, even for this short excursion.
Once you reach the top, take a minute to take in the views! Fewer visitors reach the summit, and you'll have sweeping views all around you.
Flora & Fauna
Abundant turkey and the occasional cow, the area is a free range area. Hawks and vultures share the summit airspace with sailplanes riding the thermals, and look for a herd of feral goats roaming the cliffs.
History & Background
Iconic “Mission Peeker” summit pole: Sculptor and park ranger Leonard Page along with a crew of six erected the iconic “Mission Peeker” on December 27, 1990. The pole is over six feet in height, and the foundation is two feet deep with 120 pounds of concrete.
The sculptor's purpose was to promote environmental awareness. Sealed inside the steel tube are a crystal with traditional cultural uses, an Ohlone charmstone replica, a bottle of 1990 zinfandel wine whose yeast overshoot represents world population trends, and five time capsules with articles and photographs. The time capsules were intended to be opened in a century or more, after 2090, and focus on rainforest preservation, AIDs and homelessness. They offer images from popular culture of Bart Simpson, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Gary Larsen's Far Side cartoons