Mission Peak Regional Preserve

California > San Francisco Bay Area

The Peak Trail, Mission Peak Regional Preserve

The Peak Trail

Seen from the suburbs of Fremont, the distinctively pyramid-capped Mission Peak looks treeless and barren — not an especially inviting place to go hiking. But visit the park on a nice day and it becomes clear why it's one of the most popular places to go hiking in the Bay Area. The sunny, invigorating hike to the peak is relatively short, yet it offers a great workout and superb views over the South Bay region. Exploring off the main trail reveals surprising little pockets of woodland that offer refreshing breaks from the roasting sunshine, and even little creeks that miraculously flow even in summer.

Mission Peak does, however, get hot. Even though Fremont is one of the cooler cities in the area, on summer afternoons the west-facing slope of Mission Peak catches the sun and turns into a furnace, becoming much hotter than the city itself. In my experience I can't hike there if the forecast high is above 85 degrees.

View of Mount Diablo from the Eagle Trail, Mission Peak Regional Preserve

View of Mount Diablo from the Eagle Trail


* * Mission Peak and Hidden Valley (6.8 miles, 2200 ft)
This climb up the west side of the peak is one of the most popular trails in the entire Bay Area. It offers great views, lots of sunshine, and an invigorating workout.

* * The Peak Trail (8.0 miles, 2220 ft)
The northern route to Mission Peak starts in Ohlone College, and although it's not quite as scenic as the more popular western route, it does have more of a backwoods feel.

The Hidden Valley Trail, Mission Peak Regional Preserve

The Hidden Valley Trail is the most popular route to the peak


Fremont doesn't look very interesting if you just drive through it, but, much like Berkeley, it turns out to have an exceptional concentration of independent restaurants and bakeries.

  • Chat Patta Corner competes with Berkeley's Vik's for the title of best chaat place in the Bay Area. The food has a fresh, home-cooked flavor and is less greasy than other chaat places, yet it's exceptionally flavorful. Yelp · Chowhound
  • The little takeout branch of De Afghanan serves the best kabobs I've ever had. This restaurant, which epitomizes the term "hole in the wall", only has three grimy tables and a very limited menu, but the cook is a true master of the grill. The bigger De Afghanan restaurant right next door isn't as good. Yelp
  • The very popular Shalimar is the best of Fremont's Pakistani restaurants, with big, bold flavors. Servings are a little smaller than most Pakistani and Indian restaurants. Yelp
  • Amia Bakery is another excellent Fremont bakery. They have more backpack-friendly lunch items, like foccacia and sandwiches, than Vienna.


© 2012 David Baselt