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Great hike overall, steep incline when climbing back up from Fourth of July Lake. Favorite part is Round Top Lake - gorgeous!

Loved this one! Really well marked trails and a good mix of terrain and absolutely spectacular views. That being said, the trail up to round top is precarious! It’s hard to see where to go - it curves toward the front so as you’re going up, the lake is at your back. The trail down to 4th of July was hard to see - just as well, it’s a steep trek back up.

Great hike. Stayed at wood lake campground. Host was great. Started from there. Lots of things to see, mine, snow, climbing, water to jump in and view from top was amazing.

Beautiful trail with lots of different kinds of terrain. Pretty lake area and views of mt tam. Didn’t see any other people on the trail.

excellent hike. if you are looking for a bit easier hike, I suggest you go from woods to winnemucca then Round Top back to to woods.

Beautiful views and pristine lakes. Fantastic hike.

This trail has it all: a beautiful beach, mountain views (elevation gain) and plenty of wildlife. An excellent workout with perfect temperatures. Just be aware of poison oak in different parts of the many trails that comprise it (wear long pants).

This one is a gem of an adventure. Led a group of about 18 people here for a backpacking adventure in June. Permits are free at the Ranger Station. Parked at the Woods Lake Parking and started the hike. The place is filled with Flowers which is awesome. Great views and nice small waterfalls along the way. See neat old broken rusted down carts. Some snow here and there but nothing to be worried about. This hike is pretty high in elevation so it was difficult because of that and the pack that we wore. Spent the night at Round Top Lake. Nice lake. I went in for a swim so did others. Its a nice lake. At night, the lake is SUPER windy and things will be flying. Not too cold though. In the morning around 630AM and it was super windy and chilly, hiked Round Top Summit which took about 2.5 hours. Its nice up there. The elevation made me tired and I hike quite a bit. Back at camp, cleaned up and hiked back down through Winnemucca lake which was nice. Great views of the place going down the hike. Lots of flowers. Recommended!

10/10 would recommend! We went out towards Winnemucca first, crossed to Round Top Lake, dropped to Fourth of July Lake, and took the Woods Lake trail back. Does not disappoint!

Went from Carson Pass to Round Top. The flowers are blooming and the weather great. Highly recommended hike. Go all the way to the top of Round Top for killer views!

HELP! I lost my wedding band on the section between 4th of July Lake and the top. It’s a simple silver band and is most likely lost somewhere along the upper third of the trail. Please let me know if you find anything! danjhherrick@gmail.com

Great hike, but echo the comments on mileage... my Fitbit said we did 13.1 miles, which when you expect 8.6 was a slog at the end. We went clockwise which meant we took the brutal cataract stairs down, instead of up. I think either direction would be an enjoyable hike though!!

This is the much better way to do mission peak, worth the extra drive and extra miles! One of my top 5 favorite hikes in the Bay Area.

We started off from Woods Lake side on Saturday, hiked down fourth of july lake during the afternoon, and camped at round top lake during the night; we then hiked up round top mountain in the early morning and finished the loop off minnemucca lake and carson pass. On the side of wooden lake to round top, approximately a third to fourth of the trails are obscured by snow (in June). We met quite a few groups who were either scared off by the snow or got lost. Highly recommend windshield layer or thicker jackets, snow shoes or hiking boots to tread of the snow. It gets a lot windier at higher altitude near round top lake. The experience itself was one of a kind. You have to tread through snow and be really good at pinpointing the trail ahead. Some of the human tracks become water streams or mud pads due to snow melt, so wear durable hiking shoes. There are 6 camp grounds at round top lake and you must acquire a permit at the Carson Pass visitor center. We were the only one who camped there, and the night was extremely windy and cold. Thankfull we were prepared for the worst of the weather and made it through. I personally think that the route through winnemucca lake to round top is steadier pace, more scenic and beautiful, and no snow until you pass winnemucca. The additional path down fourth of july and up the round top mountain are definitely rewarding and have fantastic views of the entire valley.

on Monument Peak Loop

5 months ago

Hard but worth it!

5 months ago

This is a classic Bay Area foot hills trail. Grass lands, oak trees and steep trails. You need to get a $2 permit to enter this area. Let the person at the entrance know and he will give you the permit/map. The map is high quality and worth the $2. The trail is a long steady climb to rose peak. Mostly on fire roads that are a bit steep. Some on trails that are over grown. I did it on memorial day and saw another 20 people or so along the way. There is no shade on this trail. Doing it on anything other than a cool day will not be enjoyable. There are a lot of ticks so come prepared and don't wander off into the grass. Most of the grass is now dry. I think this trail is probably best from Nov to May. Great training hike to test fitness for hikes in the sierras.

First run since the early 90’s...jump right in I say. Definitely worth it.

I love this park. Its pushed back from the santa clara valley so you feel like you are in the wilderness. Few people are ever on the trail. Most of the trails are fire roads making it easy terrain to hike. The park is big enough to get in 15 miles and 3000ft or more of gain. A great place to train for the bigger summits in the summer.

Parking lot can’t be reached, still snow and a downed tree. Put snowshoes to make better progress. Was hard to find the trail down from Round Top trail, slow going. A beautiful day, great hike.

I did this one last October (2017). It was one of the most beautiful backpacking trips I have done. I wonder what the current trail condition is right now. If anyone writes a new review, can you please comment on the trail/snow condition? Thank you very much in advance.

Absolutely gorgeous trail. I’m not sure why they have Fourth of July lake on this trail and the rating is still moderate though. Getting from Round Top Lake to Fourth of July Lake and back is one of the most difficult hikes I have done! Absolutely worth it but very exhausting. I am not someone who hikes all over the place and as frequently as I’d like, but I go on quite a few hikes throughout the year and getting to Fourth of July lake is at best moderately difficult!

Just did this trail this morning, it’s tough! Definitely recommend wearing cleated type shoes or boots, jeans some parts of the trail or covered with bush. Bring plenty of water and prepare for an uphill battle. Once you get to the top it’s definitely worth the views, peace and serenity.

6 months ago

Did this trail April 21st on Saturday for training purpose.
The Relive is here: https://www.relive.cc/view/1523553876
Below are details:
We started on 9:45 am from the parking lot at the bridge. The first about 2 miles are flat and shaded with Little Yosemite on your side. We were very lucky that there was plenty of water in Little Yosemite, This part of the trail is wide and passible by cars, very easy to walk.
About half mile passed Little Yosemite there is the left turn to backpacker trail to backpackers campground. Here comes the ascent, sharply to a little over mile 3, then flat out a little bit until you reached a wide road. This part at this time of year has plenty of wildflowers, very pretty. Also, we saw a sign here saying "Rattle Snake 30 feet ahead" by some nice hiker on our way back. So there is such animal activity.
When you reach the wide road (and there is a trail post), turn left and keep ascending about 0.3 miles, you see another trial post, need to turn right here. We got lost last time by following the wide road, but that is not the actual trail, the trail is not very obvious compared to the wide road, but you need to make a right turn here to the trail.
From there it is another section of rolling hills but mostly ascending, climb up the final slope, you'll reach a branch where the right trail leads to a gate, passing which there is a pond, that is the right way to go. Not far from the pond there is a big tree with some shades, that is a good spot for taking a breath.
A little over that, there came another folk trail, take left (There should be a marker build by pebbles on the ground), the trail descends sharply to a small creek, which, surprisingly has crystal clear water, shades, and a rock.
Descending before final summit means more ascending, crossed the creek, here came the final effort to rose peak about 2.5 miles, but the climb was mild until the final 50 feet to the peak. Great view on the summit and lots of flowers.
This is an out and back route, the final mileage on my watch(including a detour to Maggie's for water) was 18.5 and 4295ft elevation gain.
Most of the trail was not covered, the sun was brutal, so do apply sunscreen often and keep hydrated. I think on average at least 4L water is needed. I brought with me 2L and 1L electrolytes but ended up having to fill water at Maggie's.
There were 2 places the trail offers tap water, one at backpacker's camp about 2.5 miles from the start, another is about half a mile from Rose Peak summit in Maggie's. Both are campgrounds, but they are both tap water and you might need to consider filtering before actually drink the water. There were signs saying "Untreated water".
On our way back, we tried to take another route which you can see on the map the trail divided and merged, but we encountered a lot of cows on the trail and there was no space for us to pass through them. So we had to return to the folk and took the route marked on the map.
We started at 9:45 am, summit Rose Peak about 2 pm-ish, spent about 15, 20 minutes on the summit and finally finished about 6:30 pm back at the parking lot.
Overall in spring, this hike offers a very vivid view, green hills rolling and rolling with abundant flowers. We saw thousands of California Poppies and other flowers. A ton of ground squirrels too! Some of them even got really close! I also came once last October and the trail was all golden grass, also spectacular.

There is much to enjoy here year-round, but Winter and early Spring months are when you can get out your snowshoes, mountaineering gear, and/or skis and take advantage of this snowy wonderland. If you get a Snow Park pass (definitely get one of these, by the way - I believe California limits how much the pass-issuer will cost you, so they're not bad at $25.00 or so) you will have an excellent parking lot next to the trail. This gives you access to a paradise for Winter sports enthusiasts.

After 10am or so, I find that the parking lot exponentially fills up. Get there as early as you can.

Round Top Peak and other geological features, like Elephant Back (which is aptly named), tower above the relatively flat surroundings, this gives you the freedom to cross country and explore around. Kirkwood, CA and the Mokelumne Wilderness are known for high levels of precipitation. I was here recently (mid-April) and it is still dumped on. Be courteous and follow "snow etiquette and traditions", in other words don't be like me and trample parts of ski tracks and get called out for it. Duh!

7 months ago

TRAIL: It is mostly open with no shade areas. You will be under the sun 95% of the time. Bring plenty of water. On sunny days, it would get brutal. I personally experienced a couple of people asking for water on the highest point of the trail (half way). The terrain is well maintained (packed dirt-or-gravel terrain), you probably won't need trail shoes. I saw many people wearing sneakers in this trail. The top of the Mission peak is rocky (loose big rocks) and it was the only section where i felt that a good pair of shoes were necessary. Most of the trail is wide to allow for vehicles, but I only saw the Ranger's Truck going around.

NATURE: There is not much nature, the whole zone is mostly grass fields to feed cattle which makes it a bit boring in my opinion. There were plenty of cattle in the zone, many of which had no problem sitting in the middle of the trail. We had to go around of some cows that were sitting on the trail.

TRAFFIC: The traffic is very high. If you go to this trail to escape from people, this is not a trail for you. The only parts of the trail where we were relative alone were a small section of the loop of the middle of the trail, and the section between mission peak and monument peak. A lot of people (~50 people) at the top of mission peak. Bikers also use parts of this trail.

DIFFICULTY: if you do the ~1500 meters elevation in the 21 km, it would get hard. I consider myself in a good shape and the trail was a fair work out. If you are looking for a good trail to go running, this could be an acceptable place to train. If you go for a hike, it would take 5-6 hours of good training-like hike. I saw many people with big backpacks using this trail as training camp.

VIEWS: because of the lack of trees and the altitude, you will have beautiful views of San Jose and the bay for 50% of the trail. I took nice pics.

DOGS: too exposed and warm to dogs, they will get overheated (does not apply for cold days). The cattle can be also a problem if your dog is not used to it.

FINAL VERDICT: I won't come any time soon. The lack of nature, the high traffic and the kind of trail (vehicle-type trail) does not make up for the nice views. It does not feel like a trail, it feels more like a touristic point.

7 months ago

Loved the hike. It is strenuous because of the distance and the constant uphills/downhill. Take water and pack snacks. I packed about 5L and was just about enough. The view from the top is beautiful. Definitely go with a partner.

Sunol Regional Wilderness is my favorite area to hike in the Bay. It's just so pleasant! Almost immediately upon stepping onto this trail, we saw a bobcat! I couldn't believe it! He ran off the trail and went to rest in the shade. He didn't want to bother anyone. We also saw two vultures, a raffle of turkeys, a lizard, rodents galore, and of course, COWS! The first part of the trail is somewhat shaded and there are plenty of trees, but also plenty of sun. Once you pass the threshold of the Ohlone Wilderness Gate, you don't get anymore shade. As you near the peak, you start to see a lot of hikers from the Fremont side. My friend and I were glad we took the longer, more scenic route. The views from our side of the mountain were sensational. The other side had views of the suburbs and absolutely no shade. When we neared the peak, we confronted a bunch of craggy rocks. Climbing up them was a lot of fun. In fact, on the parts that offered trail vs. rocks, i opted to climb up the rocks because the trail was a little slippery with bits of tiny pebbles that were easy to slide on. It felt good to reach the peak, but I must say, we didn't even stay up there long enough to take a picture. There were flies everywhere! I didn't even want to get close to the pole because it was like Lord of the Flies. It also didn't smell great. But we went just 20-30 feet down and sat in a bed of grass to overlook the nearby cities. We could even see Sutro Tower.

If you want a trail permit, you'll have to buy it at the park during the weekend for $2 or purchase it on the internet and have it mailed to you for $4. We went on a Friday, and even though we asked a park ranger to buy some, she told us they weren't selling any on a Friday morning, and besides, no one was checking for permits along the trail (wink wink). The permit is apparently nice to have, though, because it's a map of the entire Sunol area, and it's good for the whole year.

In terms of wild flowers, I was expecting to see hillsides full of them, but they were here and there. We saw some purples and some golden poppies. The park rangers and docents were planning for the annual wildflower festival next weekend, so maybe we were too early to see them in all their glory.

All in all, this was a great hike! We only passed 1 or 2 hikers on the way (until, or course, we got to the peak) and we constantly stopped to admire the beautiful hilly views. I wouldn't consider summitting Mission Peak any other way.

Awesome hike. Difficult in some areas but doable! Very crowded at top of the peak but trail there and back pretty empty which was great! Totally recommend

7 months ago

I did this hike in late March at the end of the rainy season. The hills were green and the Alameda Creek was flowing rapidly through Little Yosemite. The trail was a little muddy, but it was manageable. I would not suggest doing this hike during the summer months as there is little shade and it gets hot. I was fortunate to have a cool, cloudy day, so I was able to move at a good pace without getting too tired. I tried to clock in under 5 hours, but the mud slowed me down a bit. I pack really light and can cover a lot of ground in a short time, so for most people I would plan for 6-8 hours at a normal pace with breaks.

There is a $5 parking fee and a $2 permit to hike on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail. The permit is good for a year. You'll also need the permit if you want to hike from Sunol to Mission Peak. It appears you can avoid the parking fee it you want to hike to Rose Peak from Welch Creek Road, but then you miss out on Little Yosemite. Also, you don't need a permit to hike to Little Yosemite if that's what you want to do (but you're probably not reading this if you just want to do that 2 mile walk).

My hike distance was exactly 18 miles. The track shows 18.8, but I think it was not a very clean path that added a few slight detours that added some artificial distance.

There are claims that dispute Rose Peak as being the tallest peak in Alameda County. Neighboring "Discovery Peak" on the Valpe Ridge to the east of Rose Flat is slightly higher at 3840 ft, but that one is on private property. Some people still hike there because it is so remote and the property lines are not very well marked.

The waypoint on the track mentioned a log canister at the peak, but I didn't see anything. There was a metal anchor in the ground where it appeared something used to be, so maybe that was it? Also, the views from the peak aren't as spectacular as Mt. Diablo or Mt. Tam as it doesn't have the prominence and there isn't a tower at the summit that provides nice views for the tourists. You're on your own out here and there are some trees at the top of Rose Peak that will obscure the view.


8 months ago

Training hike for OWT.


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