Top Bay Area California Hike: Mission Peak Trail
Top Bay Area California Hikes:
The Mission Peak Trail
Is hiking the Mission Peak Trail worth it?
Absolutely! I highly recommend the Mission Peak Trail in Fremont, CA for a ton of reasons. This is a 6.2 mile round trip trail with elevation gains of 2500 feet.
This hike is easily accessible from all over the Bay Area, gives you a great workout, and the views are beyond incredible!
The Mission Peak Hike is by far one of the most popular of all Bay Area Hikes. Join your fellow hiking enthusiasts to find out why.
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What can you see from the top of Mission Peak?
Your reward at the top of the Mission Peak Trail, at 2517 feet is a 360 degree view of the entire Bay Area.
Not only can you see the skylines of San Francisco and San Jose, but you can capture Mt. Tamalpais in the north, Mt. Hamilton in the south, Mt. Diablo in the east, and the Santa Cruz Mountains in the west. On a clear day, look for the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the northeast.
When to Go
The Bay Area and its micro climates are, at best, unpredictable. The Mission Peak Regional Park Preserve and Fremont area can get pretty hot and super sunny in the Spring and Summer. Be prepared with sunscreen, hats, and plenty of water.
I loved this hike at Christmas time because the early morning was cool and foggy and the sun was shining by the time we got to the peak. I recommend the Fall and Winter for better hiking temperatures.
The Mission Peak Trail is a 6.2 mile round trip hike. It takes approximately 4 – 5 hours to hike. I suggest you go clockwise. This direction is the popular, well traveled route. Enjoy the benches along the way, the wildlife – cows, turkeys, and birds. The hike is billed as challenging level because of the steep incline of over 2100 feet in 3 miles. If you are in strong shape, you won’t find it that challenging, but everyone agrees that it’s a good workout! Just take your time and you’ll be fine.
Where to Park to Hike the
Mission Peak Trail
Tell your GPS to bring you to the Stanford Avenue Staging Area on the Mission Peak Regional Preserve. There is space for 43 cars to park. If that area is full, then park on Vineyard Avenue.
Get to the parking lot EARLY, no later than 7:00 AM – 8:00 AM on the weekend if you want to be guaranteed a spot.
The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot, through the gate with the leaf on it.
The Stanford Ave. Entrance Parking Lot is open Dec 23-Mar 31 6:30am-8:00pm, Apr 1-Dec 22 6:30am-9:00pm
The Ohlone College Entrance Parking lot is open 6:00am-10:00pm
- There is a toilet facility in the Stanford parking area and at the Ohlone College parking.
- Take a photo of the trail map in the parking lot case you lose wifi, or download from your AllTrails app.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks.
- Wear a hat.
- Wear hiking boots or sneakers with some tread.
- Be prepared for some mud and cow/horse manure!
- Wear layers.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Dogs are allowed. They must be leashed 200 feet from any trail or park entrance. They must be leashed in parking lots and picnic areas.
- Drones are Prohibited!
- Don’t feed the wildlife!
- Bicycles are not allowed on the single track hiking or horseback riding trails.
- Bring your portable phone charger.
Please be Respectful and follow all the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace!© Plan Ahead and Prepare,Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, Dispose of Waste Properly, Leave What You Find, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife, Be Considerate of Other Visitors.
How hard is it to hike to
As with any hiking experience, it’s important to know your strengths and limitations. This hike is identified as challenging because of the increase in elevation in just 3 miles. There are no dangerous or rocky steep inclines. The entire trail is very safe. If you feel strong and in good shape, you won’t be intimidated at all by this trek, and if you need to slow down, that works too. Plenty of spots to rest on benches, pause for water, and pose for great pictures!
How to hike The Mission Peak Trail
- Begin through the gate, going clockwise, onto the Hidden Valley Trail. This is a wide, gravel fire road.
- It’s relatively flat for about .3 miles until you reach the cattle grid crossing.
- Enjoy the benches along the way to rest and enjoy the views.
- About 2.6 miles in, bear right onto Peak Trail. (Left takes you to the Hang Glider Launch and down to Ohlone College.)
- Look for the PEAK signs on Peak Trail as the wide gravel road narrows and the steep incline heads to the peak.
- Enjoy the summit! Look through the pole, have a snack, take photos, and make friends!
- You can simply retrace your steps back down or descend by the Horse Haven Trail connecting to the Peak Meadow Trail which will head back to the Eucalyptus Grove as you approach the parking area.
Christmas on Mission Peak
As a Christmas Eve baby, I like to enjoy a birthday hike.
Surprise! Not only were there festive wreaths on the viewing benches, but there was a Christmas tree at the Mission Peeker!
Some crazy, dedicated Bay Area hikers have been climbing this trail with a Christmas tree and decorations in tow since 2012!
They leave it up until after New Years, so get there for the pic! So fun and generous of them to keep this tradition alive.
Be sure to post #XmasOnThePeak with your pics.
The Ohlone Trailhead-
An Alternate Route
There’s another popular route which is from the Ohlone College Campus parking lot which has more spaces but charges a $4.00 entrance fee.
Beginning at this trailhead adds approximately one mile to your hike. This trail route takes the Peak Trail from the parking lot.
What’s the deal with the pole?
The famous “Mission Peeker” red pole at the summit of the climb was placed on December 27 in 1990 by its designer and park ranger Leonard Page.
Page created the sculpture to include tubes to look through for 360 degree binocular views of the Bay Area.
Page and team placed a time capsule underneath the pole which will be opened after 2090!
Rumor is that the 1990 capsule includes wine, and pop culture items from the time. Bart Simpson and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
Are you in search of more Top Bay Area California Hikes?
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Have great hike and let me know how you like it!