Hiking Ed R. Levin to Mission Peak


What? :

Mission Peak is probably the most popular and crowded hike in the south bay area (maybe just second to Rancho San Antonio County Park) but when taking the longer route from Ed R. Levin Park you can enjoy the hike and the south bay view without the crowded.

Mission Peak rising steeply at the southeast bay above of the city of Fremont to height of 2,517-foot summit and from Ed R. Levine this is out and back hike of 12.5 miles and climbing 2500 ft.


Where? : My starting point was at Ed R. Levin County Park, located on the south east bay, located east of Milpitas.

Google Map Link


When? : The preferred time to hike here is early spring nice day when all the hills are green, late spring bring flowers but the grass start to get dry and yellow at early May.


Due note 1: Mission Peak hike is overcrowded on weekends, with hundreds of visitors attempting the 3-plus-mile hike. Do not expect to be the only one at the peak, no matter what the time of the day is.


Due note 2: Most hikers are starting at Ohlone College or from Stanford Ave. Entrance (check trail and parking opening hours). The much longer trail from Ed R. Levine has a lot less people and you can see only few people along the hike.

Due note 3: This hike is exposed to sun and wind, there is not shade at all so come prepared with enough water, hat, and sunscreen. At wintertime there is no protection from the wind or rain.


Due note 4: If you are hiking in a low cloud day you may just end up hiking through a cloud inversion where the blanket of the cloud will cover the bay below you.


Due note 5: This is popular hiking spot for sunrise and sunset.


Due note 6: Large section of this hike pass through cow grazing land. The cows are generally harmless, but do not get too close or between a mama cow and her calf.

My thoughts: I hiked to Mission Peak only once, the crowded trails and the peak is not exactly my favorite location but on the other hand hiking from Ed R. Levin Park where there are only few other hikes was fun to do. I visit here mid-May, but I think this is already too late and I need to come again more at winter or early spring when all is green. Along the hike I saw many birds and to my surprise they were not so much afraid from my presence, so I manage to get some good close up pictures.

The Hike:


I will describe in this blog my hike and I will not cover the more popular north facing hikes, There are two main trailheads for Mission Peak: Stanford Avenue and Ohlone College.

From Ed R. Levin parking lot to Mission Peak it is exactly 6 miles hike with gaining of 2500 ft of elevation, and it took me 3 hours and 15 minute to reach up there and additional 2 hours hiking back down to my starting point, overall  this is 12.5 mile hike.

I started my hike at Ed R. Levin County Park (see my blog on this park visit) just near the lake parking lots (6$ entrance fee). When I hiked here, May 2022, the lake was half dry, 2 years back it was full.

I start my hike near the lake going east to the lake dam and from there I climbed up, passing a big Eucalyptus tree, and joined Tularcitos Trail.

From here I walk into Agua Callente Trail that is leading northwest up the hill slope.

After 0.5 mile you will cross the road and see on your left the water tank, keep hiking straight.

At this point you may see hang gliders walking to the launch site on the high point on your right.


After 1.7 miles from the hike starting point you will reach a trail junction. Keep heading up on a single-track walking trail with the name of Monument Peak Trail, you can also walk up the dirt road, but it is more expose to sun and less fun.

The trail is progressing up the mountains parallel to the dirt road and after walking 0.7 miles from the junction the road turn to the right and the hiking trail turn to the left, take the hiking trail. This 1.6-mile trail section climbs sharply on the mountains, you will cross a gate that indicate the end of Ed R. Levin Park area. At the end of this trail stretch you will reach the base of the tall single antenna structure the ridge trail junction is just after it.

This large trail junction is the highest point in this hike section and is exactly 4 miles from the starting point at near the lake.

Infront, you see the Monument Peak North and from here turning right on the good dirt road will lead you to the top of Monument Peak South. If you will decide hiking to Monument Peak South, you can find few trails that can lead you down back to Ed R. Levin Park area.


Once you reach the top of this section of the climb (first large single antenna, KTVU-TV transmitter), with a slight right and taking the Bay Area Ridge Trail you will hike in rolling pastures hills landscape, this is part of Mission Peak Regional Preserve.

There are many grazing cows in this area. I found it that this area is the most beautiful part of the hike, it is not as hard as it was climbing up the mountain and the hills and rounded mountain top are covered with grass.

You will pass Mountain Allison on your left (many antennas) and after crossing the dirt road keep hiking northwest and you will start to see Mission Peak summit, 0.8 miles away. Cross the lower section and hike the final climb up the trail leading to Mission Peak.


All the way up to this point you will see few hikers but at the peak there are many of them, enjoying the view and taking their pictures on the pole.


Overall, from the parking lot to this location it is exactly 6 miles hike with gaining of 2500 ft of elevation, and it took me 3 hours and 15 minute to reach here.


From the mountain top you will have 360-degree views.

You can see the south bay area below, beautiful rolling hills of Sunol Regional Wilderness to the east and Mount Diablo far north. On the south side you can see Mount Hamilton, and the Santa Cruz Mountains far on the other side of the bay.


The Mission Peak pole was built on December 27, 1990, created by sculptor and park ranger Leonard Page. Many people climbing on top of the pole and take their picture.

Mission Peak pole isn’t the true summit of Mission Peak, the highest point is the rock pile just to the south of the pole.

I hiked here during weekend and mid-day, so the peak was full of people, not exactly the solitude atmosphere… after short recovery and taking few pictures I started my hike back down using the same trail I went up.


At the large trail junction of Agua Callente Trail and Monument Peak Road, I went on the main road heading straight down to Minnis Ranch. At the ranch gate I turn right and went around the close area. Turn right and at the end of this short section turn left heading to the main park section.