Sunol Regional Wilderness

Sometimes I’m skeptical about a place until I’m a few miles into a hike. With Sunol Regional Wilderness, though, I was in awe long before parking. I looked around and instantly decided that I love this place. Who knew that such a beautiful park existed just forty minutes southeast of Hayward?

Lush green hills, an active stream, happily grazing cattle, great birding opportunities, and panoramic views make this a lovely winter or spring destination.

It was as if I’d been transported to Hobbiton in Middle Earth! Anyone here read/watch The Lord of the Rings? 🙂

This isn’t just a fairy tale-like place of beauty, though. The trails at Sunol Regional Wilderness pack a serious punch. I was huffing and puffing a great deal throughout this hike with my Meetup group.

Think of this park as Mission Peak‘s bigger, less popular, and underrated brother. You can definitely get just as great of a workout here, if not better. There are no shortage of steep, unforgiving hills here.

If you’ve got a taste for masochism, you can even make a nearly 20 mile trek (roundtrip) with over 4000 feet of elevation change to visit Rose Peak, which is Alameda County’s highest accessible peak.

The hike I did here was about 7 miles and 1800 feet of elevation change, by contrast. Most of that elevation was gained in the first few miles, with the rest of the hike at a gradual, steady descent.

If you hike here, you’ll share the trails with cattle, but make sure to steer clear of them when you encounter them. Do you see what I did there…? Do you? …I’ll see myself out. I know, I’m not very punny funny. 🙂

We had lunch at “Little Yosemite”– a small gorge in the park– before returning to the parking lot. Recent rains gave this place more life than its seen in quite some time, I reckon.

Some crazy folk disobeyed the “no swimming” signs and waded through the stream to get a closer look at a small waterfall. I only say “crazy” to help me validate my decision to not do this myself. 🙂 I’d be lying if I said I didn’t actually consider doing this. After all, I once again brought my eyesore of a tripod with me in hopes of getting a good shot of this waterfall.

I didn’t get a good shot of the waterfall, but I did get a nice post-Christmas hike of calorie burning and socializing. 🙂

Until next time,



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