Mission Peak via Bay Area Ridge Trail and Ed Levin Park

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Ed R Levin County Park

Mission Peak via Bay Area Ridge Trail and Ed Levin Park is a 13.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Milpitas, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 13.5 miles Elevation Gain: 3,175 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash


nature trips

bird watching



wild flowers


Extra-strenuous hike goes to Monument Peak, Mission Peak and back over 14 miles in an excellent spring outing. Hiking to Monument Peak from Ed Levin County Park, huffing it over to Mission Peak and returning is a true test of mettle for San Francisco Bay Area trekkers. If you're up for it, this is a great way to summit Mission Peak and skip the crowds--and parking hassles--at the popular Stanford Avenue entrance to Mission Peak Regional Preserve. Instead, take a southern tack from Ed Levin County Park just east of Milpitas. The long, steep hike up from Ed Levin is one of the toughest in the South Bay, but it has some of the best vistas in the region. As you near the Monument Peak summit, watch for the mysterious stone walls: some believe they were built by indigenous peoples who inhabited these hills for centuries before European settlers arrived. Best time to go is in the springtime when the wildflowers are out in force and the hills are a shimmering shade of green. Winter's nice, too, especially after the hills have been dusted with snow. Summer is brutal and fall is bone-dry. On your return from Mission Peak, you can turn right at the Agua Caliente Trail near the transmission tower at Monument Peak; note this is an extremely steep descent in places. Retracing your original route might be preferable if downhills punish your knees.

2 months ago

Great hike and lots of cows on the way back. Followed most of the route suggested. Hiked up from Monument Peak Trail and hiked down from Agua Caliente Trail. Finished it before raining so trail was dry and not muddy. On the way back on Aqua Caliente Trail, I had to slow down several time and even stop to deal with cows on the trail. Did not dare to pass in between cows, always tried to detour if possible.

7 months ago

The hike from Ed Levin Park to Monument Peak and Mission Peak is a strenuous hike about 13 miles in total. I didn't see other hikers until I reached Mission Peak. If you want to try this route be sure to bring at least 3 liters of water and food. I went up on the Monument Peak trail and came back via the Agua Caliente trail (part of the Bay Area Ridge trail).

no shade
over grown
Sat Jun 01 2019

My fiance and I completed this hike this past Saturday, June 1st of 2019! We started our hike at about 8:45 AM and finished around 4:30 PM. The weather was hot and sunny, with an average of 78 Degrees. It took us a good 7.5 hours to complete it! The trail: It was the beginning of June so the trail had 4-6 foot bushes sprinkled throughout the incline all the way up to Monument Peak. After reaching the tall tower we headed to Mission Peak, and the trail was much more enjoyable. On the way back down the trail, although there weren't any high bushes to go through. We were then hit with A LOT of cow manure... I stepped on one. This trail isn't for beginners and should be taken seriously. Food: My fiance and I brought a total of 5 liters of water, a few cliff bars, GU Bloks, pretzels, and we had lunch at Eagle Springs campgrounds where we ate spaghetti from Mountain House. Oh, and an apple! Prepare: I highly suggest bringing an adequate amount of water especially if you're doing this hike during the summer season. It gets hot. Remember to reapplying sunscreen every hour! If you're worried about water sources, there are plenty. I suggest bringing some sort of water filtration system. There are a few clean streams running through the trail so refilling shouldn't be a problem. If you don't trust the streams, then I suggest stopping by the Eagle Springs campground before descending. The campground has water running through a pumping system which I believe is coming from underground. Though it might seem like clean water, I recommend boiling, treating or filtering it. You don't want to get sick! Takeaways: I believe this trail would be best-done springtime where all the flowers are flourishing and it won't be that hot. Bring water and food. Enjoy the wonderful views; we spotted a fox and best of all, a bald eagle hanging out on one of the cell towers!

Mon May 13 2019

Amazing hike!

Mon Mar 25 2019

This is a long yet rewarding trail. If you are looking for a trail without people and excellent views definitely check this out. Absolutely loved it. Most of the climb is in first 3.5 miles. After that you pass Allison peak on your way to Mission Peak. I was the only person on the trail for good 12 miles out of the 14 miles. I will suggest that one can leave the loop after mission peak and retrace the steps back to monument peak to reduce some miles. Also, a personal suggestion is avoid Agua Calentine Trail on your way back in the rainy season. I went just after rains and though the scenes were amazing and lush green, the path was extremely muddy and slippery.

Sat Jan 12 2019

Really good hike for Spring! Most of the climb is in the first 3.5 miles, and it provides an excellent, less crowded backdoor to Mission Peak. The hike down from Monument peak through the Agua Caliente Trail is a real treat, with excellent views of the city. The only downside is the trails can get quite muddy right after rains.

Tue Sep 11 2018

My new favorite. Hard, but gorgeous and rewarding.

Mon Jun 04 2018

Great hike. Pretty hard at the beginning. A good variety of views over the bay. Crowded at the second peak but otherwise very nice.

Sun May 20 2018

Nice change of scenery to peninsula hiking that I usually do and nice way up mission peak that is significantly less traveled. I’d say drawbacks were: very exposed/ very little shade, grassy and ticks so wear pants!, lots of cow ####, and I would not do this is in the summer mainly because I think the grass would be teaming with all those pesky pricklers.

Mon Feb 12 2018

Wow, this hike is gorgeous! And it’s a total ass-kicker, especially the first 3.5 miles! Be prepared for inclement weather...it was hot when I parked but super windy and foggy at the higher elevation.

Wed Jan 17 2018

Good experience with a great view at the end, but definitely a hard hike for first timers. Bring plenty of water!!!

Mon Sep 18 2017

Amazing hike and great accomplishment!!! Well recommended to anyone.

Sat Aug 26 2017

This ones a great leg workout!!!

Thu Aug 03 2017

Great workout, strenuous and hard. Almost gave up the first time i went. Just keep yourself motivated and keep going . never quit. Bring at least 2 liters of water or more. The earlier you hike, the better.

Tue Jul 04 2017

go early in the morning and bring lots of water

Sun Feb 26 2017

Great view from the peaks. It is much less traffic to go up to Mission Peak. The first 3-4 miles are the hardest continuous ascend to the peak. The weather was wonderful and all the recent rains made everything so green. The trails were very muddy many places. I was glad that I was wearing water proof hiking boots.

Sun Dec 07 2014

We did this today. Started from the sandy wool lake at 7:30 although the park opens at 8, we were lucky it opened earlier. This is a very difficult hike both from distance and elevation perspective. It took us 6 hours to complete the hike. Due to plenty of rains recently, there was plenty of greenery all along add to it the beautiful weather. Overall i highly recommend this if you are serious hiker.

Wed Oct 10 2012

Round trip in 5 hrs; tough but not crippling. Good hike through the Oak groves up Monument Peak. Encountered lots of deer, wild turkeys and some Coyotes but not much flowers at this time of the year. Passes by what looks like the source of the Calaveras Creek. When you get to Monument Peak it is still an hour hike to Mission Peak through a trail on the ridge that connects several peaks. You pass by Ellison Peak but it is closed to hikers.

Wed Jun 15 2011

STEEP hike ... starts off steep and doesn't end until the peak .. but what a VIEW! Makes the effort worth it. Be warned ... there is little to no shade on this hike.

19 days ago

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