Technology Hiker

Best Bay Area Climbs, Hikes & Summits

The best Bay Area climbs offer views of the San Francisco Bay, Pacific Ocean, or both. The elevation gains of the following trails are more than Everest Camp 1 to the Mount Everest summit. Several summits also cross the Bay Area Ridge Trail. Most of these trails are best enjoyed early in the day to avoid crowds & the heat. Enjoy your hike and trailrun.

Montara Mountain, 1898’ Elevation, 1698’ Relief San Pedro County Park, Montara State Beach / McNee Ranch State Park, 6.7 miles, Pacifica

Montara Mountain is the tallest peak in the Northern Santa Cruz Mountains. Montara has multiple routes, but hiking from San Pedro County Park offers the most single track trail, shade, & animal sightings. Start at the San Pedro parking lot and climb the Montara Trail. The trail enters McNee Ranch State Park and turn East on the fireroad to reach the peak. Return the same way until the Brooks Creek Trail for the last 1.2 miles for a waterfall and redwood canyon view.

Black Mountain, 2812’ elevation, 2300’ Climb, Rancho San Antonio & Monte Bello Open Space Preserves, 9 miles, Los Altos

Black Mountain towers above Mountain View. Start at the Duveneck Windmill Trailhead on the Rhus Ridge Trail. After a short, flat canyon walk, follow the steep switchbacks up the hills. The trail gradually climbs until it steepens near Monte Bello preserve. The trail ends at Monte Bello Road and turn left to climb to the Black Mountain summit. Return the same way.

Mt Tamalpais East Peak, 2571’ Elevation, 1377’ climb, Mount Tamalpais State Park, 1377 Climb, 4.1 Miles, Mill Valley

Mt Tam presides over San Francisco and SF Bay. My favorite route is 4.1M and starts at the parking lot near Mountain Home Inn on the Panoramic Highway. From the Throckmorton Fire Station, take the Hogback Trail North. Turn East on the Old Railroad Trail & Hoo Koo Trail. Turn North and ascend the Templa Trail to the East Peak. After enjoying the East Peak and its fire lookout tower, walk toward the main lot at .3 miles. Descend via the Fern Creek & Old Railroad Grade.

Mount Umunhum, 3,486 elevation, 1,150 relief, 7.4 Miles, Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve, Los Gatos
Mount Umunhum is one the Bay Area’s newest parks. The peak protects the highest point on the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The summit also features an iconic, former Air Force radar tower seen from much of the South Bay. Park at the Bald Mountain Park Lot and take the Mount Umunhum Trail to the summit and back.

Mission Peak, ‘2517 Elevation, ‘2100 relief, 6.4 miles, Mission Peak Regional Preserve, Fremont
Mission Peak one of the most popular peaks & trailheads in the Bay Area. Use the Ohlone College approach to avoid many of the crowds. Pay and park in Lots M, N, O, or P and follow the Peak Trail & Bay Area Ridge Trail to the top of Mission Peak. At the base of the peak, you’ll meet the crowds coming from the Stanford Trailhead.

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, 1905’ Elevation, 1300’ relief, Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, 7.4 miles
Windy Hill is the first POST protected Bay Area park and offers 360 views of the Bay and Ocean. Wallace Stegner used to walk these hills. Park at the Portola Valley Lot on Portola Road. Follow the Spring Ridge Trail from forest, marsh, & open hills to the Windy Hill Summit. Follow the Anniversary Trail & Bay Area Ridge Trail for an outstanding ridge hike south. Turn East on Hamm Gulch Trail and descend to the Spring Ridge Trail.

Peak Elevation Relief Miles Start
Montara Mountain 1,898 1,698 6.7 San Pedro County Park Lot
Black Mountain 2,812 2,300 9.0 Duveneck Windmill TH
Mt Tamalpais 2,571 1,377 4.1 Lot near Mountain Home Inn
Mount Umunhum 3,486 1,150 7.4 Bald Mountain Lot
Mission Peak 2,517 2,080 6.4 Ohlone College Lot
Windy Hill  1,905 1,300 7.5 Portola Road Lot
Total  11,703 9,905 41