The Mission is Mission

Hike to Mission Peak in the East Bay

There are few Bay Area locations as instantly recognizable as the Mission Peak summit at Mission Peak Regional Preserve. Every year, thousands of hikers and bikers come to test their mettle against the mountain for a chance to stand on top and pose with the famous “Mission Peeker” summit pole.

An added bonus: This 6-mile out-and-back route happens to be one of the best sunset hikes in the Bay Area. You just have to mind your time (and bring a headlamp or flashlight as a precaution).

Signage and a hiking trail with hikers heading toward the hills and Mission Peak in the East Bay

Sign for the peak of Mission Peak in the East Bay and a hiker on the trail

Start on the gravel Hidden Valley Trail and head up! Benches on the way let you take a break and soak in sublime views of the bay. At the intersection with Grove Trail, stay left, continuing to the Eagle Trail intersection.

Cyclists will have to park their bikes here and continue on foot to the summit. The last section—at just under a mile—is narrow and rocky as you follow signs for the peak and head up the back side of the mountain. The famous summit pole will start coming into view. At the peak, a far and wide view of the Santa Clara Valley awaits.

While posing with the summit pole, take a close look at the knobs protruding from the side.

Though many assume these are climbing rungs, they’re actually viewing tubes, pointing towards popular peaks around the valley: Mount Umunhum, El Sombroso, and Loma Prieta.

Person hiking on the trail leading up to Mission Peak in the East Bay

Hiker going up a trail towards Mission Peak at sunset

To reach the Stanford Ave. trailhead, take I-680 N to Mission Blvd. in Fremont. Exit and merge onto Mission Blvd., then turn right onto Stanford Ave. The trailhead parking lot is at the end of the street, and additional parking is available on Vineyard Ave. and Antelope Dr. Start the hike on Hidden Valley Trail. Be mindful of signs and stick to marked trails. Bring a headlamp or flashlight if you may be hiking late day. Bicycles are permitted up to the intersection with Eagle Trail. Dog-friendly.

Story and photos by Heather Werner,

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