This is one of the longest approaches to the Mission Peak summit, and I think it's the best. It starts out at the park headquarters of... more » Sunol Regional Wilderness and follows the Ohlone Wilderness Trail westward to the popular East Bay peak.
Stretching the ascent to the peak across five miles, the route climbs through oak woodland on a peaceful, little-used stretch of the up the Ohlone Wilderness Trail. You'll pass the remains of a settler's cabin and see expansive vistas looking out over the Diablo Range. Sightings of deer, coyotes, vultures and raptors are common.
Hiking the Ohlone Trail requires a permit/map ($2, available from the Sunol headquarters). Start out at Mile 12, and sign the trail register at the trail board near the corral across the road from the park HQ.
The trail climbs steeply out of Sunol Wilderness, crosses Calaveras Road and continues toward the peak; at the last approach to the summit the trail takes a Y, where you can go left or right; left is a bit shorter, and offers a chance to rest at the Eagle Spring campsite.
Best time to go: Springtime when the hills are green and the wildflowers are blooming. Winter's the next-best time, especially if the peak gets a dusting of snow. Fall is OK; summer's too hot during the day, though you might beat the heat with a very early morning start. less «