Want to kick off the New Year with a monumental accomplishment? Hike to Monument Peak in Milpitas. This 2,594-foot monument is a lightly trafficked, enjoyable, and challenging 7.7-mile hike that rewards you with inspirational views.
Starting from Sandy Wool Lake in Ed Levin County Park, take the Tularcitos Trail, an immediately uphill climb. Don’t worry, there are views all along the way, starting with the peaceful park and lake, then expanding to the surrounding rolling hills as you continue ascending. Tularcitos quickly connects with the Agua Caliente Trail. Long exposed stretches are broken up by quick, shady dips through oak trees. You’re likely to spot grazing cattle along the way. Follow the signs connecting to Monument Peak Trail, which—you guessed it—continues the up and up, with increasingly better views. You’ll see the radio tower getting closer as you hike higher and finish the final portion of the Monument Peak Trail, following the gravel path to the dirt trail. You’ve made it! And you’ll feel on top of the world as you take in huge bay views from your peak perch high in the sky. Return the way you came or take the Agua Caliente Trail (marked by the summit trail post) to Calera Creek Trail back to Sandy Wool Lake.
Traveling on either Interstate 680 or 880, take the Calaveras Blvd. exit in Milpitas. Drive east toward the foothills and continue on as the road becomes Calaveras Rd. There are two main use areas in the park. To reach the Sandy Wool Lake area, take a left turn off Calaveras Rd. onto Downing Rd. Travel north along Downing to reach Sandy Wool Lake, and park by the dog park and trail access. Parking is $6. Dog-friendly!