Once thought to be the highest point in Alameda County, Rose Peak is simply a long way from anywhere. It is 10 miles along the Ohlone Wilderness Trail from Del Valle Reservoir, and 10 miles from the Sunol parking lot, so either way you are looking at a 20 mile hike or so. Plus close to 5000′ vertical feet net gain. The real wonder of it all is that there can be a place so remote, so close to a major metropolitan area. Thanks to the East Bay Regional Park District for preserving this one.

The best time to hike to Rose Peak is in the springtime, when the grass is green, the hills covered with wildflowersm and the temperatures reasonable. That’s not when I chose to go, so on a hot June morning I set out from Sunol, on my own, with four liters of water, my iPhone, sandwiches, and a map. Hiking in 86 degree heat is a challenge. By the time I reached the summit I was exhausted and had only a liter of water left.

The views, though, more than made up for it. Looking south over the Diablo Range towards Mount Hamilton I could only see a vast expanse of rugged hills with no signal human habitation. North were the bronzed and grassy foothills leading down the Livermore Valley.

This was one of the first hikes with an iPhone and so it took some adjusting. With only one fixed wide-angle lens, broad vistas became filled with empty space. An image needed to be mostly foreground, with interesting texture and detail. This shot, looking southwest, had an intriguing grass-filled watering hole, with the diminutive Goat Rock beyond.

Despite the heat I made it back safely, out of water, 19.9 miles and 5095′ of elevation later. A great hike!

Hiking recommendation: Ohlone Wilderness Trail (strenuous, permit required)

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