A late November hike took me deep into the Diablo range to Discovery Peak, the highpoint of Alameda County. Finding the highest point of any region is always a challenge, even with US Geodetic Survey topo maps. For years people thought Rose Peak was the county highpoint since it had a surveyed spot elevation of 3817′, but in the 1990’s Bay Area hiker and highpointer Dinesh Desai pored over the same topo maps and found a higher contour line a few miles to the southeast. Discovery Peak lies just barely outside the Ohlone Regional Wilderness on a nondescript hill with a small microwave tower. You can’t tell when you are there that it is noticeably higher than the surroundings, but recent advanced LIDAR (precision aerial radar) confirm the elevation.

Any hike on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail is strenuous, this was 16.6 miles and 4700′ elevation. It was a crisp morning the day after Thanksgiving and seemed the perfect time to finally do the long trek. The hills were all California brown, leaves mainly fallen, crisp underfoot, and I made quick progress up Rocky Ridge, down the canyon to Williams Gulch then back up to Schlieper Rock and beyond to the far south of the parklands. A quick detour got me to the peak.

With all the wide vistas from the hilltops, this stream, with fall leaves and the reflection of the sky seemed the perfect counterpoint.

And this is Discovery Peak itself

Hiking recommendation: Ohlone Wilderness Trail will get you close but not to the actual peak.

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