San Francisco: Monument Peak Loop (AUGUST ISSUE)

Invigorating 8+ mile hike up to one of the great East Bay Peaks.
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Invigorating 8+ mile hike up to one of the great East Bay Peaks.

The trail to Monument Peak differs by season. Better travelled in the winter and spring months. Many raptors can be spotted, I counted 8 red tail hawks and one perigrin falcon. Other wildlife - wild turkeys (lots of em), deer, coyote, bob cats, squirrells, rattle snakes and mountain lions.

One of the surprises of this hike were the greenbelts we encounterd along the way. Unlike the Mission Peak hike where you are exposed most of the way, the trees in the greenbelt were a welcomed site. Mostly Oaks and California Laurel Bay trees. Spring time and early summer bring lots of wildflowers, unfortunately, it was cold and overcast on our trip and the wildflowers we saw were mostly closed up and hiding.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 12.3

Waypoints

MPL013

Location: 37.4689331, -121.8695221

Bear L at 3-way connection with Calera Creek Trail. Continue to MPL060 to connect back to return route.

Optional route - R on Calera Creek Trail and follow this trail back to Ed Levin Park.

MPL004

Location: 37.4616661, -121.8634033

Stay on Trail at intersection with service road. The lowest (300ft) of three Hang Glider take off points is to the left. Trail ascends a bit and enters into a nice wooded area bringing welcome shade. Oaks and California Bay Laurel Trees.

MPL011

Location: 37.4753265, -121.8757629

Scott Creek. The steep downhill is over, enjoy the shade while you have it.

MPL002

Location: 37.4574509, -121.8611526

Bear L at Y. Grassy Trail gradually ascends.

MPL007

Location: 37.4794312, -121.8681183

Stay L at 3-way. Intersection with Sierra trail. Major climb finished.

MPL009

Location: 37.4892159, -121.8672867

Kris - This area was pretty confusing. There were no trail markers to Monumnet Peak. In fact there was no way to know where Monument Peak is. The park map didn't help since it showed the trail going right through the peak, but the topo maps show it at a different location. I went ahead and added the route to the peak, although I did not actually go up there since I was misled by the park map. To the peak - R at 4-way on Road then R up foot path. To continue on the loop - L at 4-way to Agua Caliente Trail. Going straight on the 4-way is a great trail to Mission Peak and a good alternate route for a much longer hike.

The route down is pretty steep but gives a great view of the bay area (on a clear day). The trail is a fire road, mostly gravel and dirt and can be pretty tough after a rain because of mud or after it is dried can be tough on the feet because of the cattle in the area really mess up the trail.

MPL003

Location: 37.4572258, -121.8591232

L onto Agua Caliente Trail. Trail Spring months: Green hills, wildflowers. Note: nothing special about this trail here. It looks like part of this was/is a narrow fire road.

MPL008

Location: 37.4825439, -121.8669052

L at Y with unmarked trail. Pass through cattle gate and continue on main trail. Moss covered Basalt rocks scattered along the barren hillsides.

MPL005

Location: 37.468071, -121.8681641

R at Y. Leave Agua Caliente Trail onto the Monument Peak Trail.

MPL012

Location: 37.4705276, -121.8725739

Straight (bear L) at 3-way.

MPL006

Location: 37.4687347, -121.8681641

Straight at 4 way. Follow trail sign straight at Intersection with service Road. Through cattle gate and begin the main climb of this trek. Watch for wild turkeys along the green belt just past the cattle gate.

This is the return point for the loop. Retrace route back to trailhead from this point.

MPL010

Location: 37.4870605, -121.8661728

R on foot trail to top of Monument Peak. Awesome vistas of the SF Bay Area.

MPL001

Location: 37.4572334, -121.8636856

Tularcitos Trailhead. West on Tularcitos Trail towards Monument Peak Trail. Follow trail sign.

Auga Caliente Trail

Location: 37.4580612, -121.8594971

Hang Gliders.

Location: 37.4614906, -121.8639297

Hang Gliders waiting for the wind

Shady Trail

Location: 37.4652519, -121.8643036

Welcome Shade

Location: 37.4658775, -121.8656845

Trail Sign

Location: 37.4690666, -121.868042

Wild Turkeys

Location: 37.469696, -121.8685074

Proud Toms

Location: 37.4699135, -121.8678589

Lone Poppies

Location: 37.476162, -121.8715363

Climb

Location: 37.4765778, -121.870575

Disappearing Trail

Location: 37.4777298, -121.868187

Para Sailing

Location: 37.4797974, -121.867775

Lone Oak

Location: 37.4826813, -121.8675232

Lonely Oak tree along the narrow gulch near Scott Creek.

Colored Rocks

Location: 37.4869881, -121.8697433

Monument Peak

Location: 37.485733, -121.8700714

South Bay on a Cloudy Day

Location: 37.483017, -121.8739166

Scott Creek

Location: 37.4755478, -121.875618