Rose Peak From Sunol

HARD 111 reviews

Rose Peak From Sunol is a 18.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Sunol, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 18.8 miles Elevation Gain: 4,028 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

fee

There is a $5 permit fee. Rose Peak (3,817 ft.), the highest peak in Alameda county, is remotely located in Ohlone Wilderness and can only be accessed by foot for the public. This 18 miles round-trip hike, gaining almost 4,000 feet in elevation change, takes you there and back from Sunol Regioanl Park in one day. The trail is well marked with trail posts along the way. Each post has an unique number assigned to it. Just follow the numbers and you can get to the peak easily. This trip is also a perfect training for the famous Half Dome hike in Yosemite for their similarity in distance and elevation gain.

hiking
16 days ago

Did this on today Started at parking lot off of Geary Rd Started at 8am. 9.2 miles to the top 4 hrs. 3 1/2 hrs down Only saw 6 people. Great views Trail signage was excellent. Weather was perfect.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

Great trail to prepare you for a Sierra backpacking trip or to work on your long distance capabilities. The ascent to the peak has very few descents. Passed three groups of cows along the trail. No bench or structures at the top. As others have stated, there is little shade leaving you exposed for most of the hike. I brought 3 liters of water and finished in 7 hours and 5 mins. I would not recommend this hike during the summer and do recommend trekking poles for the hike down to help out with knees and such.

hiking
bugs
no shade
3 months ago

This is a very touch hike. I would recommend to do it in spring. Make sure to bring at least 4 liters of water.

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

hiking
no shade
6 months ago

Great trail but be careful in the summer. It is HOT! We got there at 7:00 not knowing that the park opens at 8:00am. There’s a gate you have to drive through to the park. Luckily the ranger got there at 7:30 and we drove in. You’ll want to drive in as far as possible as that’s where the trail begins. After about 2 miles on a gravel road, you’ll turn left up a steep hill for another few miles. The views are beautiful and no doubt even more beautiful in the spring. We ran into some cows which was a bit scary (boyfriend says they were not scary), but passed without issue. The trail was very nice and easily marked. We keep the AllTrails App open which is easy to follow with the GPS. Some steep parts which make going up/down difficult, but nice overall. Make sure to bring lots of water in the summer. We completed the trail including breaks in about 7.5 hours.

hiking
no shade
7 months ago

This was a ver LONG hike!!! We left at 8:30am and finish at 5:30pm! We should have brought double the water, thank goodness for having a water purifier my husband had brought! We took a few wrong turns and hike almost 22miles. Phone died should brought my portable phone charger! Would love to do this hike again in early spring with hills and mountains are green and rivers flowing!!!’

hiking
no shade
8 months ago

Definitely a hike for spring or when temps are low. Most of trail has no shade and sections of it hardly get any breeze. A challenging hike for sure. The fire roads have been recently undergone maintenance that have tilted the trail steeply making the footing tiring. A good hike to get away from crowd, you may see Bay Area hawks, rattle snake (almost stepped on one) deer. Distant chirping and calls from birds from the valley forest is very soothing. Many of the seasonal creeks still had some water. Plan to take plenty of water. Otherwise Untreated water fill at backpacking campsite is only refill spot on the whole hike. Will likely go there again as backpacking venture

hiking
8 months ago

great trail & a really good climb! did this hike today and it was a great choice on a cloudy day. started at 9am got to Rose peak by 1pm. the peak was covered in clouds. very chilly. but on a sunny day this would be pretty brutal. finished up by 5pm. brought my two dogs and they are passed out now. good hike for dogs but just remember to check for ticks. wouldn't take the dogs in the summer. too many foxtails

hiking
bugs
9 months ago

hiking
no shade
9 months ago

Did this a day hike, 8am - 6pm. A lot of sun, you need a lot of water. Also, make sure you have a map and check GPS! When going back from east to west, there is an unmarked junction between Ohlone Trail marker 17 and 16. You need to turn right to go uphill here. Trail was still beautiful although the grass is starting to dry out. A ton of wild flowers near Rose Peak.

hiking
10 months ago

Green rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Unless, it's summer, then it's probably brown rolling hills. I enjoyed the isolation of this hike. My wife & I did this as a day hike, but this is a lot of miles for one day. It looks like many people camp. The first 2 miles aren't great and follow a road which can get really crowded. After that, you transfer to jeep road for another mile, then approximately 3 miles in, it turns into a proper trail. Like others mentioned, there are sections that lead to private land. I thought I was being clever with a shortcut and instead had to backtrack. Also, as others mentioned, you're in a flight path although I wasn't particularly bothered by the overhead jets.

hiking
no shade
private property
10 months ago

Beautiful trail! Started up to do a loop in Sunol and ended up going all the way to Rose Peak. Didn't really register that a permit was needed (I thought it was just for backpacking, so oops). The trail starts easy to little Yosemite and up to the first left turn. The river is now beautiful, still a lot of water, but it hasn't rained a lot in the last 2 weeks, and so the water is clear just magical. After the turn, the climb is pretty steep, but take it slow and it works, once above the camp sites, the landscape is just amazing rolling hills (still green) and lost of different flowers blooming although most flowers are very small and it is spase. Nevertheless the short grass gives an impression of high altitude, Trail keeps going steadily up but incline is very moderate. Getting to the last stretch, there is a gate at a right turn and a little pond which looks absolutely gorgeous (see the pictures). Lots of ground squirels running around. Anyway, got to the top shortly after, while a big group was just coming down. Some wind an defintely chilly at the top, but not too bad. Sky was clear, so there is a good view of the bay on the west side and a good view of pleasantwon area on the east side, it is kind of cool to see both at the same time. Was not able to distinguish San Francisco, so might not be visible from the top. The way back was a killer for me, I didn't realize how tired I was. I took a wrong turn (south fork just below the peak) and ended up having to cross through a private property and shimmy through a barbed wire to ge to the gate with the pond. It is a long way down and the steep descent by the camp side was tough on the legs. Still made it in about 8 hours total. Most interesting widlife was 2 woodpeckers on the tree at the Sunol parking lot, so much for a hiking reward. Anyway, a beautiful hike, highly recommended, and at least for me, one of the toughest around.

hiking
11 months ago

Soggy, Muddy, Rainy... Wonderful!!!! I set out on the trail right at 8am and didn’t see any other hikers until almost at the Peak where I ran into 2 trail runners headed down. Plenty of cow pies so watch your step. It did rain so make sure you check the forecast and pack your Gore-Tex. Seems every time I do Rose Peak it’s windy on the top but I really like doing this hike solo and using the 7 or so hours to reflect. Can’t wait to do this one again soon!!

hiking
no shade
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
Tue Jan 29 2019

I didn't make the full trail to rose peak. The 3rd mile back is a brutal ~1800ft elevation gain in the span of a mile when you make it up to the backpack campsites. Also a pasture gate was locked. After you committed to the "required a permit to continue" area the trails quality declines a lot. It is little more then a cow trail with a post every .5-1mile. Grass is overgrown. Suggest pants to avoid ticks.

hiking
no shade
Sun Jan 27 2019

Start early and bring enough water.

hiking
Mon Jan 14 2019

8 hours there and back, expect to see nobody on the trail but cows and a lot of maneur, rose peak is between marker 28 and 29, with a table at the very top

hiking
Sat Jan 12 2019

Rose Peak is a great and challenging trail. We started from Del Valle and ended at Sunol HQ. Took 11 hours total. Note, the parking lot at Sunol does have a gate that they lock, but it has an exit only side w/ spikes that you can use to exit from after they close the gate at night. Del Valle has a lot (after the bridge) that is not gated where you can park if you are going to return after the gates at the HQ close. We encountered lots of cows on the trail which was cool but also scary at times too. Glad we climbed down through Sunol as the trails seem more gradual and the views are better. Also, there were lots of planes flying over the entire day, so if you are planning on staying overnight, bring ear plugs!

hiking
Tue May 29 2018

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.

hiking
Mon Apr 23 2018

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.

hiking
Fri Apr 06 2018

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.

hiking
Sun Mar 25 2018

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. https://www.relive.cc/view/1472119126

hiking
Thu Feb 08 2018

Decided to do this as a dayhike to train for Whitney later this year. Definitely found myself wishing I was overnighting it. Beautiful hike with plenty of solitude. Lots of up and down on the way up, which means there's still plenty of climbing to be done on the way back. Rose peak is not a high prominence peak, so the views at the top are less rewarding than the breeze at the top, but it's still a nice perspective. Last few miles were particularly tough just because of distance (closer to 20 miles). Took a short detour up to the water spigot at sunol backpack camp to refill on the way back (boiled my water as it is untreated), before cutting down the backpack road towards little yosemite to go around the last bit of uphill on the mcorkle trail. Exhausted and sore, but happy i made the hike.

hiking
Mon Jul 31 2017

This was one of the hardest hikes I've ever done probably because I neglected to adequately research and prepare. It was a hot day (>80F) on a very exposed trail and I brought 3 liters of water. I also didn't know you needed a permit (which would've included a map) so I used my phone to look things up. That said, it really is a challenge and a test of your patience as much as your endurance. There are many possible trails and they are not well marked so it's easy to get lost (hence why you need a permit/map). I only saw 3 people on the trail in the 20 miles I hiked - huge thank you to the guy that told me where I could refill my water. In the summer, it's dead yellow grass and rolling hills as far as you can see...and some cows. The solitude is creepy but kind of cool if you actually know what you're doing. On the way back with 4 miles to go I was dry heaving from exhaustion and rationing my refill. Very poor planning on my part but luckily modern technology and the kindness of strangers helped mitigate the consequences of my stupidity. Definitely have a hearty breakfast, research the area before you go, and bring at least 4L of water and/or a filter if it's a hot day. This was a spur of the moment decision for me but I'm glad I did it, if only to learn a hard lesson. Took about 9 hours. Got sunburned.

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