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Offers good leisurely Bay Area hike

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At the summit of Mission Peak is this steel pole with telescopes that allow successful hikers to see up close 365-degree views of the areas around the mountain.


POSTED December 24, 2011 2:00 a.m.

FREMONT – Mission Peak in Fremont is such an easy climb you can even bring your four-legged friend with you to the top.

The pet, which I think was a Labrador, was with a young couple the year my husband and I and our 7-year-old hiked to the top of one of Alameda County’s most prominent landmarks.

It was around summer when we took the leisurely ascent, taking the easiest and least challenging of the three trails to the summit on the mountain’s western face. It’s called the Peak Trail and starts at Ohlone College. That’s where we parked our car for the day’s climb.

It’s considered the easiest trail because it’s not as steep as the other two – the Hidden Valley and the Peak Meadow trails. An elderly woman with hunched shoulders and a cane appeared relaxed as we walked side by side on a relatively level section of the climb about half-way to the top.

While the Peak Trail was not so threateningly steep, it had its challenging sections especially to amateurs like me. It was especially so at the hump pretty close to the summit. But that’s the last hurdle before you finally set your feet on the rocky peak and you feel like you’re on top of the world with breathtaking 360-degree views of the cities of Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco and Fremont. I’ve heard some climbers say that you can even see the Sierra Nevada range 100 miles away on a clear day when the weather is cooperative.

When it came time for us to descend from the peak, my husband suggested taking another route for a change. On closer inspection, the route he had in mind appeared to be one that was less travelled, if at all. I could see no trail, or even something closely resembling a trail dent atop the wild foliage. His suggestion was firmly nixed. And I’m even more glad now that I did because, later on, I learned through my post-climb research that Northern Pacific rattlesnakes are pretty common in the area.

The hike to the summit is roughly four miles. The length of time to complete the ascent and descent depends on how leisurely you want to do it, and how often you want to stop and admire the views from different elevations. The elevation at the top of the peak is 2,517 feet.

It has been a while since that summer ascent to Mission Peak. Each time I visit my family in Fremont, where I also lived briefly before crossing the Altamont to the San Joaquin Valley, I always enjoy the drive along Mission Boulevard toward I-680. Right ahead of you smack dab in the middle of the boulevard is the mountain’s familiar pointy peak, as if it’s sending you another invitation to stop by for a visit.

— Rose Albano Risso

Bulletin reporter

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