One of the dominant peaks surrounding Silicon Valley is “Mission Peak” above Fremont California. http://www.ebparks.org/parks/mission
It’s very popular, accessible, and easy to navigate (just follow the other lemmings 😉 ). The ~2000 foot vertical hike provides impressive views of the valley and the San Francisco Bay, while not requiring any preparation except for good shoes and some water. Perfect for beginners…indeed it was my first hike in northern California back in 1989 or 1990.
You may recognize the vertical rock cuts near the summit if you know the Fremont skyline!
One of my good friends, who is usually too busy with his family and career to join me on most of my adventures, proposed this hike for the day after Thanksgiving.
We met at the trailhead just after 9:00AM on a beautiful day: it was sunny and a bit cool. The main parking lot was already full (as expected), so we parked a little down the hill on Stanford Avenue.
They even have an outhouse at the bottom, plus one near the top!
That’s my friend on the summit. Below are the ponds and levees of the southern San Francisco Bay.
Closer-in you might spot the large buildings and parking lot of Tesla Motors.
I did say this was popular, right? Here's a shot of the slightly lower "false summit", swarming with kids and families taking pictures. Good for them for getting out of the house!
If you’re considering a challenging hike that’s easy to plan, you can approach Mission Peak from Stanford Avenue, or from Ohlone College to the north.
If you’re looking for a multi-day adventure, the crowds disappear entirely if you continue over the peak into the Sunol Regional Wilderness, where you can enjoy backpacking solitude! http://www.ebparks.org/parks/sunol
More pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59666465@N00/sets/72157638256775914/
GPX track here: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2473050