Summitted, Annually since 2000
When to go:
Anytime. Mission Peak is one of my favorite Bay Area hikes. Unfortunately, as it has become better known it is ridiculously crowded, especially on weekends, where you may have to park up to 1/2 mile away.
There are two main trails. The first one is off of Stanford Drive in Fremont. There is a small parking area here with a restroom and water. Unfortunately, this lot will fill up very early in the morning so you will probably have to look for street parking in the adjoining neighborhood...be prepared to walk quite far to get a space on a weekend. The second trail is from Ohlone College in Fremont. When I last used this access many years ago, you were able to park here for free on Sundays, but I'm sure things have changed so check first.
Hotel and Climb Reservation:
No guide, permit, or trail reservations are required. There are numerous hotels in the area.
Standard light hiking gear and water for a day hike.
Trip Description: Mission Peak trail is a 6 mile roundtrip hike with 2,000' of gentle elevation gain, although it does get a little steeper on the final segment of the trail. The trail system is truly multi-use, so expect to see runners, hikers, bicycle riders, picnics parasails, and cow. Many cows graze the area to keep fire risk low. They peacefully coexist with the hikers.
The trail is exposed with little shade and can be extremely hot in the summer. There is also the possibility of connecting to the Sunol Regional Wilderness from the summit area and walk another 18 miles to Livermore (maps and a permit are required). The trail that leaves from Ohlone College, which meets up with the main trail from Stanford Avenue, is partially wooded and offers some shade.
Mountain seen from the trailhead
Mountain seen from trailhead at sunset
My friend Norm...fear the cow!
Some cows sharing the "multi-use" trail
Summit when shrowded in by clouds
Summit with friends Matt and Norm around 2005