I have lived in San Jose my whole life barring a few college years down south. I eventually made my first trip up to Mount Hamilton thanks to peakbagging. After 'bagging' Mount Hamilton by driving into the completely flat lot, I laughed and headed towards Copernicus. I did not ask the on-duty officer and instead just went for it at a jog. Found no issue, but there is obvious negative signage at the gate. It's a county HP however, and these seem to have lack security when its not ranch lands. The fire lookout was pretty cool, but not much fun to be had here.
Outstanding vistas of the valley. Only bummer was that the observatory facilities were closed off for a fundraiser.
Biked Mt Hamilton road starting at Grant Lake.
Approached from the Lick Observatory, technically not legal.
Mt. Isabel first, then drove up to Mt. Hamilton, then short hop over to Copernicus Peak followed by Pyramid Rock. Only 1 peak at a time, followed by a drive to the next trailhead. Probably could have combined Isabel and Pyramid Rock. Copernicus was easy, parked at small turnout at bottom of access road to Copernicus. TR will probably be light on Pyramid Rock details given the experience of others. You can find it HERE.
Parked at 120" telescope lot just off side of road, took to the road just like I'd run away from home, and the next thing I knew I didn't know which way to turn for the best view. It's worth the tedious drive to see this mountain top, a place where science meets nature, and every knoll every gopher pile seems to have an observatory on top of it.
A couple hundred yards of rebellion led me to the top. The views were impressive, the Lick observatory even more so. Worth the trip.
On the way to Oregon, took a detour to check off the Santa Clara county highpoint. Long, but very nice drive to the top of Mt. Hamilton makes this outing nothing more than a walk-up. Strolled up the road, then straight up the service road to summit. Clambered around equipment looking for the highest point. Excellent views in all directions, despite some obstructions.
Parked roughly at Kincaid Rd and jogged up the last 5 miles of Mt Hamilton Rd to the summits. Time to summit was about 1 hr and round trip was 1:40 excluding maybe 10 mins at the top. Great views all around and one of my favorite Bay Area summits despite the annoying access.
Pyramid Rocks, Mount Isabel and Copernicus Peak-in that order. Evening hike began at the Mule Trail 5:45PM to avoid the heat. Bagged Pyramid Rocks then Mount Isabel via East Slope. It was about 8:20 when I reached the summit. Climbed up summit rocks but did not find the register nor where it is shown in the photo section. Gorgeous sunset that left deep crimson layers in the sky. Was pitch black final couple miles back to San Antonio Road. Fantastic views of Isabel Valley, Mt. Stakes and of Isabel and Pyramid Rocks from the summit of each. Finished the evening at Copernicus Peak. Satisfying day in the Diablo Range.
Very long, winding drive, but enjoyed the tour of the Lick Observatory. Definitely worth going especially while the hills are green.
The tour of the main observatory was interesting as was looking through the windows at the 120 inch telescope. I left my truck at the 120 inch parking area and walked to Copernicus. CA Cohp #10, CA P3k 4/46.
The county sheriff didn't like where I parked...
Walking around an ugly manmade structure with singing electrical lines, radio wave symbols, & warnings of high voltage made me really question my attraction to the state highpoints... The great views of the Diablo range, Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, the South Bay, as well as a side trip to the Lick Observatory, though, restored my faith, & reminded me why. Building aside, it is a beautiful area, the drive pleasant (if it hadn't been for the 2 slow cars that refused to pull over, I would have stayed ahead of the better part of a 3-person GSX-R/YZF riders group- THAT would have been cool. Oh well...), & wonderful company made for a great day's outing.
After a look at the observatory.
Nice day and hike with the boys. It was fun to be stealthy with them. For a 3 and 5 yr old, this was the perfect adventure. All the parking along the side of the road was blocked off. We parked in the lot for the 120 inch telescope and walked along the road. Fun time.
My wife wanted to show me San Francisco, but I insisted that we at least spend one day outside the city. We had no idea that it is illegal to do this hike? We just parked off the road and walked up it. The Lick Observatory was very interesting as well as the tour.
So the signs scared me and the gate was open with someone up there. Decided to continue on the road down the east side of the mountain. Parked in a turnout. Climbed up the opposite ridge of the road up to the summit. Some bushwacking but not bad...although my kids didn't like getting wacked in the face by the brush as I thrashed through and crawled under. No one on top, hiked the road down, gate was now closed. http://www.willhiteweb.com/california_climbing/mount_hamilton/copernicus_peak_251.htm
My 3rd cohp for the day. Summitted at 6:45 PM.