Mission Peak is not the highest peak in this part of the Southeast San Francisco Bay area, Mount Allison
and Monument Peak
immediately to the south are higher, but Mission is the most distinct and most frequently summited. There are probably several hundred who head up each day. Rising steeply to the east behind the city of Fremont, Mission Peak offers a nice hike for those wishing a couple of hours of hiking. Mission Peak offers views of the entire bay area, from San Francisco to Mount Tamalpais
in Marin County. Looking north you see Mount Diablo
and the Livermore and San Ramon Valleys. To the south one sees Mount Hamilton and the Diablo Range
. Southwest looks over San Jose, Silicon Valley, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. On clear days the snow capped Sierra Nevada range can be seen to the east.
Mission Peak is a popular place for parasailing and hang gliding as the thermals and winds off San Francisco Bay rise up its sides. This also makes it a nice place to watch hawks and other raptors soaring. The wider road / trails are also popular with mountain bikers. Mission Peak is also home to deer, bobcat, wild pig, some feral goats near the summit and the ever present cows. The spring time brings out beautiful carpets of wildflowers, especially our state flower the California Golden Poppy.
Mission peak is mostly sandstone formed in an ancient seabed. If one looks carefully at the rocks, one can find fossils of ancient sea life.
There are three parking / trailhead areas. The most popular is at the end of Stanford Avenue. From Interstate 680 take the southern Mission Boulevard exit. Mission Boulevard loops and actually crosses Interstate 680 twice. Head north for about 1/2 mile.Turn right onto Stanford Avenue and follow to the end of the road. This area can be quite crowded and finding a parking spot can be difficult. This is a very popular trailhead, arrive early to find parking. Be sure to park in the designated parking area. There are signs posted that state "No stopping on or off pavement anytime". Ignoring this will incure a $60 parking ticket.
Next is at the Ohlone College Campus just south of Mission San Jose off Mission Boulevard north of the Stanford Avenue parking area. You will need to buy a parking permit in parking lot D or H. If you come from 880 (the south Mission exit from 680), Ohlone College is on your right just after the power lines. If you come from the 680 north exit, the college is on your left. Ohlone College also has (at least) two entrances on the south side of Mission San Jose, take the west entrance and head up the hill to the highest parking lot you can find.
Another option is to go to Sunol Regional Park and reach the summit from the east side. From Interstate - 680 exit at Calaveras Road a few miles north of Fremont. Turn east (away from the town of Sunol) on Calaveras and proceed to Geary Road (approximately 4 miles), turn left and follow this road 2 miles directly into the park.
A final option to avoid the crowds is to park at Ed Levin County Park to the south and hike to Mission Peak via Monument Peak.
No Permits are needed to hike. If you park at Ohlone College you will need to purchase a parking permit. Sunol Regional Park charges a $3 entrance / parking fee.
If coming from Sunol Regional Park, the trail used is the Ohlone Wilderness Trail and passes through San Francisco Water District land. A Trail Permit is required. It is $2.50 and can be purchased at the entrance kiosk to Sunol. The permit is good for the entire Ohlone Wilderness trail and is good for one year from the date of purchase.
Be aware of the parking signs at the Stanford Avenue trailhead. Arrive early to find parking. Be sure to park in the designated parking area. There are signs posted that state "No stopping on or off pavement anytime". Ignoring this will incure a $60 parking ticket.
When To Climb
Hiking is great at all times of the year. Some of the trails can be quite muddy and slippery in the heavy clay sections of trail after a rain.
There is no camping on Mission Peak. There are overnight tent camping sites at Sunol Regional Park which are available on a reservable basis by calling (510) 636-1684. The fee is $11 per night for up to 10 consecutive nights, and includes the parking fee.
Mission Peak is named after Mission San Jose which sits near its northwest base. Mission San Jose was the 14th in a chain of 21 missions established in California by Spanish Franciscan missionaries from 1769 to 1821