Mt Hamilton

You can climb Mt Hamilton from the East or the West. The more common approach is the Western one as it easily accessible from San Jose. The climb starts at the corner of Alum Rock Ave and Mt Diablo Rd. You have to cross two ridges before you get to the final climb of Mt Hamilton. The total is 14 km (1100+ m elevation gain) with the final ascent of about 7 km (600m).

From the East, you start at Junction Café going South on San Antonio Valley Rd with rolling hills and a couple of minor climbs. After about 20 km your reach the bottom of the final climb. From there it's 8 km and 600 vertical meters (the map in profile section is unfortunately not very accurate) to the top. There are mile markers painted on the road. The first you pass on the climb is "5". Sounds easy enough, but don't forget that you already climbed about a 1000 m and covered a distance of at least 80 km, most likely on Mines Rd

Obviously, you have great views from the top and the James Lick Observatory is remarkable, too. Surprisingly, there is no restaurant or cafe on the top. You can get water from a fountain next to the gift shop and snacks and soda from vending machines in the back (next to the post office).

There is also the anual Mt Hamilton Road Race. It starts in San Jose with the Western climb and goes to Livermore via San Antonio Valley Rd and Mines Rd.

Mt Hamilton - the Western approach

Mt Hamilton - L looking back at 2/3 of the Eastern climb

San Antonio Valley Rd towards Mt Hamilton - grazing cow