Saturday, December 8, 2018
Bedrock mortars used by Native Americans for pounding acorns that were found in the area are reminders of Sunol’s first inhabitants. For the past century, however, the land known today as Sunol Regional Wilderness was used almost exclusively as ranch land. Under the East Bay Regional Park District’s multi-use land management policy, cattle continue to graze in the 6,859-acre wilderness. Today, camping, picnicking, hiking and back-packing attract thousands of park visitors a year. Visitors should bring drinking water because there is no drinking water in the park.*1
This lollipop hike starts from Sunol Regional Wilderness along the Ohlone Wilderness Trail into Mission Regional Preserve to Mission Peak at 2517 feet. Begin from the Ohlone Trail Sign-In Panel at trail post#12.
Enter through the trail gate onto Ohlone Wilderness Trail, the trail traverses the hillside through the scattered oak woodland with open views of the valley its surrounding ridges and peaks.
Ohlone Wilderness Trail heads westward on a single track up to Calaveras Rd, cross the paved road to trail post #11.
The broad fire road continues with a steady climb through the beautiful oak/bay woodlands to next trail post adjacent to private property at number 12163.
Follow the trail sign, go left to stay on Ohlone Wilderness Trail to Eagle Spring Backpack Camp. It continues uphill across the open upper meadows to the Y split at the next trail post.
Go right to stay on Ohlone Wilderness, it steadily climbs upwards through the scattered oak woodland.
The trail exits out onto the gorgeous open grassland to trail post #10-Ohlone Trail Sign-In Panel with views of Mission Peak!
Enter through the trail gate into Mission Peak Regional Preserve to trail post #9. Turn to stay on Ohlone Wilderness Trail, it goes up and down the hillside to trail post#8 at Laurel Canyon.
Watch for wildlife around the wilderness area-coyote sightings! We saw two very super healthy coyotes casually walking through the high grass onto the fire road-WOW!
Go straight to stay on Ohlone Wilderness, it travels through the beautiful wooded canyon along Starr Spring to the Y junction at trail post#7.
Turn left onto Eagle Trail to Eagle Spring Backpack Camp.
Continue on Eagle Trail, it continues on an uphill climb with distant views of Mission Peak and its surrounding ridges.
At the unmarked trail split, go right towards the ridge. Enjoy the views!
The trail comes joins Peak Trail at the top of the ridgeline. Go right onto Peak Trail and follow the narrow rocky trail towards the Mission Peak. Enjoy the glorious views and fossiliferous sandstone outcrops!
Peak Trail continues along the open ridgeline to Mission Peak.
Mission Peak Summit at 2517 feet-enjoy the panoramic views! Rising steeply to the east of the city of Fremont, Mission and Monument peaks form a dramatic backdrop to the South Bay. The determined and conditioned hiker who reaches the top of Mission Peak will be rewarded with views of Mount Hamilton to the south, the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west, Mt. Tamalpais to the north, and Mt. Diablo and the Sierra Nevada to the northeast. Hawks and vultures share the summit airspace with sailplanes riding the thermals, and a down-to-earth herd of feral goats roams the cliffs.*2
Continue on Peak Trail-watch your footing, it’s quite a steep drop along the rocky trail to trail post#5.
Turn right onto Eagle Trail to Ohlone Wilderness Trail. Eagle cuts across the beautiful open grassland to trail post#6.
Turn left onto Ranch Trail, the fire road drops down the hillside with gorgeous panoramas to trail post#24 at Laurel Canyon Trail junction.
Go straight to stay on Ranch Trail, it continues down to the cattle ranch towards the park boundary.
Turn right at the fenceline, the trail leads to trail post#23 at Laurel Loop Trail.
Go left across the creek and cut across the wired fence onto Laurel Loop Trail. It exits the canyon area to trail post#10 at the Ohlone Trail Sign-In Panel.
Enter through the trail gate onto Ohlone Wilderness Trail. At this point, re-trace the route for the return to Sunol Wilderness Park. Coyote sighting again!
It’s a nice steady downhill through the oak/bay woodlands to Calaveras Rd.
Cross the paved road and enjoy the surrounding views!
This is a fabulous scenic hike from Sunol Wilderness Park into Mission Peak Regional Preserve to Mission Peak Summit at 2517 feet. It’s front-loaded with climbing and you’re well-rewarded with phenomenal 360-degree panoramic views! This well-used park, particularly on weekends, has hundreds of visitors attempting the 3-plus-mile hike to Mission Peak. Every year, several dogs die of heat stroke and dehydration at Mission Peak and many hikers suffer injuries, as well. Avoid hiking in the middle of the day in the summer months. Bring at least 2 liters of water for you and your dog. Wear a hat and generously re-apply sunscreen. *2
10.5 Miles with 2278′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2518′
Time: 4.51 hrs with multiple stops
Hike: Challenging with sustained climbs
Parking: $5/car $2/dog
Pit toilets available near Old Green Barn Visitor Center. Porta-potty/*water available at Eagle Spring Backpack Camp *All water should be treated or boiled before drinking. Bring plenty of water & food/snacks
Weather: Sunny and cool with mild winds. Temps ranging from the low 50’s to the low 60’s with NE winds
Direction > Sunol Regional Wilderness parking lot > Ohlone Wilderness Tr > L-Laurel Loop Tr > L-Eagle Tr > L-Eagle Loop Tr > L-to Peak Tr > Mission Peak > S-Peak Tr > R-Eagle Tr > L-Ranch Tr > L Laurel Canyon > X-creek > X-barb wire fence > R-onto unmarked fire road >enter thru gate at Ohlone Trail Sign-in Panel > L-Ohlone Wilderness Tr > Sunol Regional Wilderness parking lot