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, @heath.er.wer.ner

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Taking the Stage: Tyler Ranch

    Hike the recently opened Tyler Ranch Staging Area in Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, with 18 miles of new trails. This 6.5-mile loop up Sunol Peak is a challenge and rewards with exceptional views of seasonal iridescent hills.

    View
  2. Swing into Spring

    Swing into this 7.1-mile hike in the hills of Half Moon Bay! It’s got gorgeous views, fields of spring wildflowers, and a hidden rustic tree swing.

    View
  3. The Carson Show

    Carson Falls is ready for primetime. This three-tiered, 100-foot stunner is hidden back in a canyon outside of Fairfax and reached on a 3.25-mile (round-trip) hike.

    View
  4. woman kneeling and signing peak book at Mount Olympia in Mount Diablo State Park

    Double Up on Diablo

    Set the tone for 2024 with this twofer summit hike at Mount Diablo State Park. Embark on a 7-mile out-and-back up Mount Olympia and Diablo’s lesser-known summit, North Peak.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker overlooking Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles National Park near Monterey

    Pinnacles of Spring

    Why hike at Pinnacles National Park? Spring's a beautiful time of year here. And you might spy the magnificent California condor soaring while you gain soaring views from the High Peaks Trail.

    View
  2. Caves in Mojave

    No one expects to see caves when they visit the desert, and that’s part of what makes Mitchell Caverns in the Mojave Desert such an interesting place. Go on a two-hour guided adventure tour through Mitchell Caverns in Providence Mountains State Recreation Area.

    View
  3. Sponsored

    Port of Call

    Nestled by the sea on the majestic Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, Port Townsend is for travelers who treasure small town charm and natural beauty.

    View
  4. Lava Lava

    Once a land of volcanic activity, Mojave National Preserve shares plenty about its past via a quick yet adventurous hike to the Lava Tube in the Cima Dome Volcanic Field.

    View