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Mission Peak is one of the more prominent mountains of the Bay Area, defining the horizon east of South Bay.
At just over 2,500 feet elevation, it sets the stage for hikes with pretty serious elevation gain.
There are several trails, but Hidden Valley is the most direct and most popular route to the summit.
It’s a wide gravel path and very easy to follow, but sustains a demanding grade for most of its 3 miles.
The work to reach the top is well worth it, because Mission Peak is an exceptionally beautiful mountain.
Its grassy, sinuous slopes are adorned in green and dotted with light-colored rocks, while leafy foliage fills in the many shallow canyons.
Colors are bold green with the accent of wildflowers in spring, and pale gold with amber hues in the dry season.
It can even get a dusting of snow in winter.
Sparse trees allow great distant views, as well.
On a clear day you can easily see across the Bay to Mount Tamalpais, and to the east you might even see the outline of Sierra Nevada peaks.
Wildlife you might spot are deer, rabbits, turkeys, hawks, and a free-roaming herd of goats. The trail is not overly difficult, but is completely exposed to sun and wind.
Come prepared with good shoes, sun protection, and layers of clothing.
Parking is limited at the Stanford Avenue Trailhead where this hike begins.
Do your best to get there early or come on a weekday.
You can alternatively get there by rideshare services or public transport. Sources: https://www.ebparks.org/parks/mission/default.htm