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Sunol Wilderness to Mission Peak

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Sunol Wilderness Regional Preserve

Sunol Wilderness to Mission Peak is a 10.3 mile heavily 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, running, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 10.3 miles Elevation Gain: 2,211 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

hiking

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

fee

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.

hiking
fee
rocky
3 months ago

we found very few people on this trail. But we were a little shock to see so many people in the mission peak. It seems they came from different trails.

hiking
muddy
3 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

One of my favorite hikes anywhere! Hope to get back to the area some day.

hiking
6 months ago

This was an awesome hike! It took me just over 4 hours on a solo hike (without taking any breaks). It was so peaceful and I was by myself on the trail for almost the entire hike. As soon as you get close to Mission Peak, the views are just incredible! I totally see why so many people say this is the best way to hike Mission Peak. I will definitely be doing this again. I also saw quite a bit of wildlife - a bobcat, several groups of deer, and tons of cows of course. It's a hard hike but so worth it.

hiking
8 months ago

This part of the Ohlone Wilderness Trail is within the Sunol Regional Wilderness and the Mission Peak Regional Preserve. Officially you need a permit ($2 for one year) and parking ticket but when I arrived at 8:30 am on a Saturday noone was asking at the entrance or on the trail. It takes about 10 hours or more depending on your skill or number of breaks. I had a bit of difficulty finding the trail head because it's not immediately by the sign-in location. A narrow dirt path from the parking area leads to the trail across the Calaveras Road. From here it's a wide gravel fire road to about midway. The trail then continues on a wide dirt path to the Mission Peak. I took a break at the Eagle Springs Backpack Camp before starting the final climb to the peak. I saw very few hikers or trail runners until I reached Mission Peak where the majority of folks approaced from the West. It's a nice hike overall and can be done all year.

hiking
8 months ago

I believe this is one of the best hikes in the Bay Area! It is a steady uphill to Mission peak and definitely a good workout but it is nicely managed, has a bathroom and picnic benches near the peak, and is super dog and hiker friendly. For anyone looking for a leas crowded route to Mission Peak and up for a little workout, this is your trail.

hiking
11 months ago

Picked this trail for my family's first backpacking trip. The fire road portion of the incline is a great test when carrying all your gear. Once you're beyond that, the dirt trail mellows out. Eagle Spring Backpack Camp has everything you need: running water (bring a filter), each site has a picnic table, sites 1-3 each have a couple trees each (site 4 is under a much larger tree - reserve that one if you can), a large porta-potty, and a great view of Livermore. The final ascent to Mission Peak is short from that point.

hiking
no shade
Sat Jun 29 2019

This one was only alright. The majority of this hike is on a gravel road, which isn't the best to walk on. The second half is very exposed, so bring a hat. When I arrived at the top, there were at least 30 people waiting in line to take a pictures at a specific outcropping, which ruined the quiet isolated vibe I experienced on the way up. These people all came up from the west side - I saw fewer than five people on this trail until the peak. Overall a good workout and the views are great, however the mostly gravel trail is not fun to walk on.

hiking
Fri Jun 21 2019

Nice climb for sure. From trail head to summit it is uphill all the way. A tiny bit of poison oak lines the single track trail right at the beginning only. Good news, it's all downhill on the way back. Fantastic views at the summit and on the way back.

hiking
Tue May 14 2019

Absolutely gorgeous, one of my favorite hikes in the immediate Bay Area. The view is excellent the bulk of the trip up. There are grazing cows, so keep in mind some of the ramifications of that haha. We saw coyotes and deer and other creatures too. The peak has 360 views that were worth the constant incline. Follow the out/back precisely; we tried to create a loop and came across trails that are no longer maintained so added an extra mile backtracking.

hiking
Sat Apr 27 2019

Backpacking trip to Eagles Creek backpacking camp with Ali, George, Liam, Ranjana, Jackie D and Mario.

hiking
Tue Apr 23 2019

The beginning of this hike is up, up, up. However, springtime is a real treat with the green hills and wildflowers. Only encountered a few people on this trail but it sure was busy at the top. Quite a view!

Recorded the track one way and started it five minutes late... I was overwhelmed by the wildflowers. This hike was challenging due to the constant incline, but if you walk a lot the hard rating seems a bit much. You pass through a variety of terrain, all very pretty on a spring day. Winter would also likely be real nice, albeit muddy. I’d skip this hike during summer

hiking
muddy
Tue Mar 26 2019

Mon Dec 31 2018

what a great hike. we've done it twice now in past 2months... loved it each time. last time we even saw a small Bob cat... near the start, just as you cross the road. at the top we like to to a loop and walk down the other side.

hiking
Mon Jun 18 2018

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.

hiking
Fri Apr 06 2018

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.

Sun Apr 01 2018

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

hiking
Thu Feb 15 2018

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

hiking
Wed Jan 24 2018

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.

Fri Apr 07 2017

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

hiking
Mon Mar 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.

hiking
Sun Feb 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.

Mon Apr 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.

Sat Feb 22 2014

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

Sun Oct 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.

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