Sunol Wilderness to Mission Peak

HARD 32 reviews
#8 of 20 trails in

Sunol Wilderness to Mission Peak is a 10.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sunol, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

10.3 miles
2211 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly



trail running


wild flowers


This back-door route to Mission Peak is a wilder, quieter alternative to more popular trails This is one of the longest approaches to the Mission Peak summit and arguably the best. It starts out at the park headquarters of Sunol Regional Wilderness and follows the Ohlone Wilderness Trail westward to the popular East Bay peak. Stretching the ascent to the peak across five miles, the route climbs through oak woodland on a peaceful, little-used stretch of the up the Ohlone Wilderness Trail. You'll pass the remains of a settler's cabin and see expansive vistas looking out over the Diablo Range. Sightings of deer, coyotes, vultures and raptors are common. Hiking the Ohlone Trail requires a permit/map ($2, available from the Sunol headquarters). Start out at Mile 12, and sign the trail register at the trail board near the corral across the road from the park HQ. The trail climbs steeply out of Sunol Wilderness, crosses Calaveras Road and continues toward the peak; at the last approach to the summit the trail takes a Y, where you can go left or right; left is a bit shorter, and offers a chance to rest at the Eagle Spring campsite. Best time to go: Springtime when the hills are green and the wildflowers are blooming. Winter's the next-best time, especially if the peak gets a dusting of snow. Fall is OK; summer's too hot during the day, though you might beat the heat with a very early morning start.

19 days ago

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.

24 days ago

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

2 months ago

Excellent hike for spring season. Perfect weather with breathtaking views. Hike is long but not super hard.
Loved it!!

3 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike. Lots of wildlife, and the only other people I saw on the trail were at the peak coming from the other side. Entry gate was free today (weekdays?) so no attendant, but I lucked out and caught a ranger as he was leaving who was happy to help me out with the wilderness permit. The trail is pretty well maintained and despite the recent rains, I had minimal issues with mud. The fog was still lifting when i reached the top, so the view was a nice hybrid of landscape and mist.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Walk and ran this with my Dad. Great trail but, make sure to bring plenty of water!

Monday, March 13, 2017

This hike is great if you're wanting exercise rather than beautiful scenery. It's a difficult and longer hike with little coverage from the sun and lots of cattle. The scenery is pretty monotone, not to shabby but nothing amazing.

You need a permit for this trail. It's $2 and you get it from the ranger at the booth when you enter the parking lot. This is in addition to the parking fee so make sure you let them know you will be hiking this trail.

Anyway, great hike. Nice view from the top. Super busy at the top. Expect a long line to get tang photo with the post. Good exercise but overall nothing to write home about. Oh and it's dog friendly.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

this placd is very beautiful. great place to take your fur kid hiking. the trails are nice and wide and easy to pass others.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Excellent full-day hike for an active family and a dog. April is is a great time to visit. Green hills, not too hot, lots of wildflowers in bloom.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Nice there and back trail. Nice workout, and I agree with the ratings...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Did the loop yesterday; it is hard alright as it is >10 mi in length. It took me 4hrs and 30 minutes (2:30 up and 2 down.
The weather was great in the shady areas but hot in the view exposed areas near the top. I believe that it was slightly warmer than 70 degrees.
In general, the hike is much more pleasant than the Stanford approach although almost twice as long. There are a lot of Oak Groves on this hike but the top part is bare like the Stanford side.

28 days ago

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cross country skiing
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Friday, March 31, 2017

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Monday, December 26, 2016

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