Mountain hiking required.
July 24, 2011 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend a mountain day hike within 3hrs (or so) drive of the Bay Area.

I miss the Cascades in Seattle, where one could drive a few hours and hike to the top of a 5500 ft mountain anytime you wished. Mt. Sauk, for example.

I'm willing to drive pretty far, but ideally something that can be accomplished during the day. Any skill level hiking is okay, just nothing that requires ropes or climbing skills.
posted by jeffamaphone to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Mount Tam is a good option, or Mount Diablo
posted by brainmouse at 3:51 PM on July 24, 2011

My favorite mountain hike when I lived in Northern Nevada was Loch Leven Lakes near Big Bend (in California) on I-80.

This link has a nice list of hikes in the Sierras near Tahoe.
posted by hammerthyme at 4:16 PM on July 24, 2011

There are a couple trails around Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, including Tanbark and Tin House trails, which are about 3 hours from SF. The views are great from the top. It sounds like the trail is open and in good shape (via). It's a steep trail, but worth it for the views at the top.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:42 PM on July 24, 2011

Weekend Sherpa.
posted by quarterframer at 5:58 PM on July 24, 2011

Bay Area Hiker is a good reference for this sort of thing. I don't have any specific recommendations for large ascents (Mt Diablo is supposed to be the best close one) but have had great experiences hiking the Santa Cruz Mountains.
posted by kdar at 11:13 PM on July 24, 2011

Mission Peak and/or Mt. Allison, from Ohlone College or from Ed Levin Park (2500 feet+).
Mt. Rose, in the Sunol Regional Wilderness, just a few dozen feet shorter than Mt. Diablo (3800+ feet).
posted by the Real Dan at 12:43 AM on July 25, 2011

I always thought Mt. Diablo was kinda "meh" and I don't know that you'll find much of what would be classic "mountain" (pine trees, elevation and granite) in the immediate area. Lots of great hills with pretty views all over -- Las Trampas being my personal favorite in the Bay Area but like most of the area, just a pretty big hill. Sunol and the Skyline Trail in Napa are close and about the same. Largely grassland and not-yet-dead oaks. There are approximately one billion gorgeous hikes in the near vicitinity I'd argue are twice as nice as what we've got going on in the pines but I may be oversaturarated in terms of mountian time.

Some of the closest and most overlooked granite pounding are in western Placer and El Dorado counties but notsomuch as far as major elevation changes. One of the best things going at that elevation and above are glacial lakes: its pretty easy to take even a minor hike and end up at a lake with very few -- or no -- other visitors.

Still an s-load of snow at a lot of elevations: Mt. Lassen is beyond what I'd consider a day trip but is the closest peak above 10K and is both beneath snowcap and tentatively closed for repairs if it ever dries out enough.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:21 PM on July 25, 2011

The Sierras are about 3 hours away. This website has a number of Sierra day hikes, and it has a lot of Bay Area hikes listed as well. It's actually pretty cool, as it gives the miles, the vertical, and the time.

On preview - I grew up in the Royal Gorge recreational area and it is beautiful. I've been to Long Lake hundreds of times, it's a really simple hike. You might as well keep going and do Devil's Peak. Note: Cascade Lake has a children's camp on the eastern shore.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:26 PM on July 25, 2011

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