Hiking Stats as of 11/11/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

May 5, 2013 - Discovery Peak / Rose Peak


Partners: Kyle Breen

Distance: 27.53 miles

Elevation Gain: 6,842 feet

Trip Time: 10:47

Maps and Stats:
The Ohlone Trail covers the 28 miles between Lake Del Valle in south Livermore and Fremont. The trail cuts through a large swath of the Ohlone Wilderness, an area devoid of development and highlighted by rugged terrain. I completed the Ohlone Trail back in May 2011 which resulted in severe knee pain which took me several months to recover from. I had only been hiking for 6 months when I attempted the hike and obviously I had taken on too much too soon. This time, with two more years of experience, I felt good about my chances of completing the journey without causing injury. With Kyle and I heading off to Mt. Whitney the last week of June, we needed some long distance training to ensure we were prepared.

This hike is still the only hike that I have ever done that is one way - that is you don't finish up at the same place you start. In order to accomplish this Kyle and I met up at the end point in Fremont at 7:15 AM, left his car behind, and carpooled to the start in Del Valle which is about 40 minutes away. We hit the trail a little after 8 AM and set in for the long journey. We knew we had to keep up a decent pace in order to ensure our arrival in Fremont before dark, but about 15 minutes in Kyle realized he forgot his keys in my car and had to go back to the car to get them. I decided he could handle that by himself and took a couple of shots of the trail while I waited.

After ascending the first ridgeline, the trail drops 500 feet down to Williams Gulch before rising on the other side to even greater heights. Once reaching about 3300 feet (the start is around 650 feet) the trail becomes much easier, with gently rolling ups and downs (mostly up) as you head towards the county highpoints. Along the way there were several fun sights, including this lupine field, a young calf feeding, and this squirrel. I think I had some extra adrenelane going, knowing how tough this hike is, because we soon arrived at the park boundary where the short spur to Discovery Peak is located. I had remembered it being a bit tougher to attain this point but today I was not tired at all.

We made our way passed the gate and went cross country towards Discovery Peak. Soon we were on the unremarkable summit of the highest point in Alameda County, knowing this was a mere pit stop on our way to Fremont. We did not linger on top, as we made our way over towards Rose Peak. Soon thereafter we hit the summit of Rose Peak, and had a bit of a surprise when we found our signatures from April 1, 2012 in the summit register (neither one of us recalled signing). I also enjoyed the entry from someone who brought their dog Sierra up to this point, being that of course my dog is named Sierra as well.

From Rose Peak it is a long and steady descent, all the way down to under 500 feet at the Sunol Visitor Center. The views are seemingly never changing, as the Mission Peak ridgeline is just so far off in the distance. Over time, of course, we measured our progress by slowly watching that ridgeline get closer. Eventually we would have to climb up it, as far off as it was. Although this part of the journey took several hours, there were not too many notable features, other than noting a pack of cows who paid no attention to our wanting to pass on the trail, and a reservoir off in the hazy distance. Eventually we were on the final descent down to the Sunol Visitors Center, where we planned on getting some water and resting for a few minutes before pressing on.

After downing a couple liters of water, we set back off on the trail, this time climbing up towards Mission Peak. This part of the trail was tough, just because we had completed over 20 miles and the prospect of hiking up a couple of thousand more feet is mentally exhausting. But we had no choice, and so we pressed up the eastern side of Mission Peak noting the presence of a deer and some more cows along the way.

We finally hit the ridge line of Mission Peak, and despite the summit of Mission Peak only being a few hundred feet higher, we elected not to make the side trip up and down that portion (it is not part of the Ohlone Trail afterall). The descent from Mission Peak was tough on the feet and toes, as the last of the 7,000 feet of descent had its toll. The views on the descent though are spectacular, making the trip down more tolerable. I remembered to get a shot of my GPS once we had completed a full marathon, only the second time I have ever had a hike of this distance. As the sun became lower in the sky we hit the end of the Ohlone Trail and made our way back to Kyle's car that we had left first thing in the morning. About 40 minutes later we were back at my car at Del Valle, and the conclusion of a long and worthwhile day which totaled just over 27.5 miles and just under 7,000 feet of elevation gain. Probably the best training for the distance and elevation gain of Mt. Whitney that can be had so close to home (without the altitude training of course).

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