The hike was somewhat challenging, the views were spectacular and the stop at Bibiane Bakery in downtown Pleasanton provided the perfect mid-hike cheese baguette. They bake fresh between 10-11 a.m. We snagged a fresh, warm cheese baguette and we haven't been able to eat another since then! Go
get one - NOW! Update as of April 2012, Bibiane Bakery has sadly closed so get your baguette elsewhere before the hike.
This total hike is about 3.25 miles, but there are other trail options throughout the park to make it a longer hike.
The Hike to Flag Hill:
Level of difficulty: moderate
Last hiked: January 2011
Mileage: 3.25 miles
Sun exposure: Mostly exposed
- From the main parking area just off Geary Road, head toward the trails behind the picnic area. You'll quickly cross the Alameda Creek. Take the trail to the left leading to the Flag Hill Trail. You'll want to stay on this trail the entire way up. The first mile on the Flag Hill trail is a what I affectionately call a butt blaster. One mile, all up hill, climbing a little over 1,000 feet. But the views are well worth it (and I saw a 4 year old doing it so anyone can!). It's windy at the top so not the most ideal picnic spot, but some of the more amazing views you'll see in the East Bay.
- After you've spent your time reflecting on the shear beauty of this place at Flag Hill (1360 elevation), turn back around and take Flag Hill Road to High Valley Road. Stay to the right on High Valley heading toward High Valley Camp.
- If it's a nice day, High Valley Camp is a great spot for a picnic. There are picnic tables at the site and some decent views.
- Walk through the camp and head right on Hayfield Road. Like most East Bay Regional Parks, Sunol doesn't disappoint - heading down Hayfield Road, you'll be surrounded by cows grazing along the hillside.
- Hayfield takes you all the way back down to the short trail you started on by the Alameda Creek.
I'm a converted Pleasanton believer after this hike. Oh, and did I mention the cheese baguette?
What you need to know:
- How to get there - access from 680
- Seasons - a better hike for winter or early spring. It will get hot in the summer and fall since the trail is mostly exposed.
- Entrance fee - at the time we went, parking was $5 per vehicle.
- Dogs - allowed in all East Bay Regional Parks for an extra $2 fee.
- Camping - yes, campsites in the park.