Running Mission Peak

One of my Bay Area Bucket List items was to run Mission Peak. We’d hiked there three years ago when the Dude was small and cute and had never forgotten the views from the top. I wanted to run it, so Jen, Debbie and I found an afternoon that suited and the plan was on.

I dropped my boys at the Stanford Avenue trailhead – they would hike the 3 miles from there,  it would be a race – and then drove a little further to pick up an alternative trail starting at Ohlone College. It’s a steep climb up Mission Peak and this route would take us up in 4 miles, as opposed to the 3 miles from Stanford Avenue. We hoped it would be slightly more runnable. Parking was plentiful and free on Sundays, there were portaloos at the bottom…we posed for the obligatory starting selfie and we were off.



Make no mistake, it was a tough climb and there was a fair amount of hiking that took place but we managed to run more than I’d expected. The climb was steady but fairly do-able and also surprisingly shady – the climb from Stanford Ave is fully exposed to the sun and brutal on hot days, so this is definitely the better summer option. There were plenty of cows on the hills including one ambling up the trail – we had to pass her which freaked me out a little but we survived the giant cow attack!  careful slow passing of a medium-sized bovine.



Soon enough we came to the loo in the middle of nowhere which marks the final mile up to the peak. It gets very steep from here onwards and we hiked the vast majority, including the scramble up rocks for the final push. As we hiked upwards, I glanced back and saw my boys behind me and the desire to win galvanized me to push to the top. It was very windy at the top and rather chilly but we found a sheltered spot in the sun and waited for the boys to arrive.


Thanks for the photo Jen…and the very precise German who took it


My boys arrived, they conceded the race,  we ate snacks, we posed for photos including a recreation of a shot we took three years ago 🙂


mission peak me dude
Me and the Dude in 2013 when he was small and cute
Me and the Dude in 2017 when he is almost as big as me


The run down was delightful. Easy running on smooth trails, chatting all the way. The weather was perfect today – it can be very hot on Mission Peak or bitterly cold and windy, but we’d struck gold. The fields were a luminous emerald green due to all the rain, the views were gorgeous, the company was top notch.



Our potentially dodgy parenting trick to encourage hiking is to reward with ice-cream. THIS one was surprisingly enormous and covered with candy floss! Ooops…


Mission Peak…done!


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Awesome! Love that you raced against your sons on different trails. Gorgeous epic views.

    1. Cathryn says:

      It was such a fun day and the views are wonderful from there. Did you climb it?

      1. No, I haven’t. Sadly most of my days in the Bay Area were misspent inside a lab. Or at least too much lab time and not enough outdoor time.

      2. Cathryn says:

        Ah, another #actuallivescientist! Well, I’m grateful for your work anyway!

  2. gracechua31 says:

    Daww! The Dude really is almost as big as you! (Or maybe that’s just camera angle?) He’s going to be tall isn’t he. I give it 3 or 4 years unless you have a growth spurt. Look at those views. Things seem greener this year, is that because of all the rain?

    1. Cathryn says:

      He’s 4’5, I’m 5’1. I’ll give him till he’s 9. And yes, everything is super-green. The rain has been amazing.

  3. Jen says:

    My quads were sore for 2 days after! I’m glad we didn’t get into an argument about how much water I brought… this trip to Mission Peak was a lot nicer than my previous visit! 😉

    1. Cathryn says:

      Mine too. AND the boys’ quads were too. Well, the Husband’s were sore. The Dude basically bounced down the hill. Swine.

      1. gracechua31 says:

        It is a truth universally acknowledged that small boys are essentially made of elastic.

      2. Cathryn says:

        It’s so unfair.

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