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. 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.

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.

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

At the peak, a breathtaking view of the Santa Clara Valley awaits you. 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.

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. Bicycles are permitted up to the intersection with Eagle Trail. Dog-friendly.

Story and photos by Poe Casavant

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Hiker on the SCA trail in Marin Headlands with view of the Golden Gate Bridge

    Headlands Over Heels

    People come from all over the world to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Get a dramatic and novel view of the bridge without all the people on this moderate 6-mile hike in the Marin Headlands.

    View
  2. Hiker at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve hiking amid lupine wildflowers

    Hidden Wilds of Healdsburg

    When you arrive at Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve, you may wonder what could possibly be tucked behind a subdivision. But within minutes of hiking in this 155-acre preserve, the beauty reveals itself: majestic oak trees, wetland, spring wildflowers, and wowing views of the Mayacama Mountains and Russian River.

    View
  3. Hiker on a trail with beautiful green hills and wildflowers on the grasses at Carr Ranch in Contra Costa County

    Carr Ranch

    Can’t decide between an epic hike or a relaxing nature walk? The 8.3-mile Carr Ranch Trail loop in the East Bay’s Contra Costa County is the perfect hike for rugged adventurers with a soft side.

    View
  4. Two women at the entrance of the Lavender Labyrinth at Bees N Blooms in Santa Rosa

    Lavender Labyrinth

    Labyrinths are meditative meanders. Add fragrant organic lavender and you're at Bees N Blooms at the foot of Taylor Mountain near Santa Rosa, experiencing their “ancient pathway of peace” and more.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Urban Hike to the Shakespeare Bridge in LA

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. 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
  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais into Muir Woods

    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

    View
  4. Hikers by the reservoir at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks

    Triumphant in Triunfo

    Go on a hike with a peaceful reservoir, charming meadows, and beautiful spring blooms at Triunfo Creek Park near Thousand Oaks.

    View