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Beautiful train system that seems off the beaten path and not that far to drive from. Lots of ups and downs, and a scenic lake to start the hike. The scenery is diverse and nice to look at, and it really seems like you're away from anything urban. It's not spectacular, say like a redwood forest or hiking through a wooded area, but still really nice and recommended. There's tons of signs of critters from the scat on the trails and pathways in the brush, so if you go at dawn/dusk you'll likely see a bunch. I saw a juvenile coyote.

I’ve done this loop dozens of times and it’s always nice. Wonderful views of the Bay! The section to the south is far less traveled. The peak can be a bit windy and/or chilly, so bring a light jacket if you plan on hanging out.

Definitely a hard trail with little shade and the sun coming down on your skin. Arrived at the entrance at 6:30 am and it was the best decision because by 8 am the sun was beaming. Beautiful views with a great feeling of accomplishment afterwards. I Recommend getting there super early no later than 7 if you want to avoid the sun and enjoy the sunrise

Beautiful walk. Nice and shaded. Plenty of places to catch your breath and enjoy the views

Was a difficult hike but the views along the way is fantastic specially seeing clouds beneath you!

hiking
14 days ago

It was a moderate hike with beautiful panoramic views all along way. Almost entire path is shaded unless it’s midday.

A short and sweet hike that meets all the criteria when you're looking for something simple.

It is not too strenuous but has a few fun parts that'll get your heart rate up. The view isn't breathtaking, but very refreshing. It's not too crowded, nor is it desolate.

Great place for a short afternoon hiking that doesn't need too much preparation.

Fully shaded hike even good sun light. Great terrain for training endurance track

Tough but quick. Good training hike.

Fun little loop to run

This is my favorite trail from back home to solo hike! Trails are really nicely done and the hills definitely make sure you’re working hard the entire time. If you have the energy, I would recommend hiking up to the Black Mountain Peak for really great views and a different sort of terrain!

This is a tough trail because it is uphill for majority of the hike. But it's a good workout due to the huge elevation change. The trail gets very crowded on weekends and has little shade. Bring water to keep hydrated. Enjoyed the hike on this trail.

hiking
28 days ago

Need better trail markings. I bathrooms, but porta potties.

Per person you need 3 liters of water to do this trail.
For parking, you can do the parking at the start of the trail. I got lucky twice.
You can also park on Vineyard Avenue, this adds up a little bit more of a hike but beats going to Ohlone.

If you take Peak Meadow trail it is nicer, the trail is less wide and less people. In some spots there is shade. Basically where you see the river in the map is where you have shade and can stop for a little picnic or a break.

I usually do this trail all the way to mission peak.
Then if I am tired of lazy I do the hidden valley back
if I am in no hurry I take the peak meadow route back.
Hidden valley as others mention has no shade but is faster.

There is a stretch at horses heaven trail which is very steep, this is easy going up but is tricky going down. If you are not comfortable with steep downhill. I'd bring a walking stick or poles
and make sure your shoes can catch the track
one time I brought flat-ish shoes and that was a disaster.

Mahalo

Parking at Stanford lot was not an option even at 7:30 in the morning. We used the alternate lot at Ohlone college. The hike got about 2.5 miles longer. Hardly any shade. No view either until got to the summit.
By the way, It was very crowded. Near the summit the trail was narrow you’ll have to maneuver for people resting as well as people on the opposite direction.

be patience. the view from the top is rewarding. but on the way up from horse tsil is dry and nothing so be prepared. make sure to bring water cuz there is limited shade. it's a nice training trail.

the first one mile is mostly exposed so are first two miles of the return loop. the hard parts are all in the first half of loop. once you reach the top power transmission tower then it's all downhill and you can enjoy the view. if you have enough strength then it's worthy to continue to black mountain tower for 4 more miles round trip.

Such a beautiful trail!! I hiked it alone on a moderately busy Sunday afternoon. It was the perfect combination of ease and difficulty for me. Very straightforward to follow along the path, and when you come to a fork in the trail it is marked properly. There are a few decent sized rocks along the way to stop and hang out to take a short break.

Wonderful hike!
Early October, Sunday morning, got there at around 7:30 and the parking was halfway full. Very windy, lots of shades, waterfalls was only dripping water. Descending first then ascend when going back to the parking.
Paid the fee for $10 (fee is only $8, but didn’t have change, self pay in the envelope)
Definitely come back for camping overnight!

Scenery: 3
Views: 3.5
Difficulty: 3.5
Crowds: 3
Shade: 2

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Scenery: 3.5
Views: 4.5
Difficulty: 3
Crowds: 3
Shade: 4

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

Scenery: 2
Views: 4
Difficulty: 4
Crowds: 5
Shade: 1

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Nice gradual incline to the top with a great view of the bay especially on a clear day. Saw a rattlesnake near the bottom so be careful. Make sure you get there before 830am so you can get a parking spot. Small parking if you wanted to do the incline first but if you want to go downhill first then you can drive to the top which had more parking.

Definitely a hard trail. All uphill with little shade. Took about an hour and fifteen minutes (with plenty of rests) to the peak. The views of the bay are amazing the whole way up.

Beautiful trail. View of the Santa Cruz mountains and it’s a loop too back to the parking lot. Not too much elevation change. Make it by 9am to have a good shot at parking.

Great trail. It's well maintained, has some beautiful views, and (early in the morning) wasn't too crowded. The parking lot at the trailhead is pretty limited, but there's some extra along the road.

1 month ago

Well maintained, shaded trail for 85%.
Vegetation not as gorgeous like you find in forests but still nice, different.
Pretty decent ascent not hard at all.

Awesome hike with beautiful views! Definitely go in the morning to avoid getting hit too much with the sun.

Go super early to beat the heat and parking! Bring a decent amount of water to stay hydrated on your way up!

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