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A few hours at Mission Peak Regional Preserve might make you wonder if the United Nations has a West Coast hiking club.

Fremont’s signature peak attracts people from everywhere. I’ve chatted with hikers from India, China, Taiwan, Russia, Mexico and even remote, exotic places like Livermore.

You don’t come to Mission Peak expecting solitude: the parking lot’s like a shopping mall on weekends. You come to meet interesting people and to stand on the summit. There’s no easy (or even moderate) route to the top – it’s nearly 2,200 feet above the trail head – but the view up there is worth every step.

Winter’s the best time to do Mission Peak because a layer of gravel keeps the main trail from turning to muck after it rains.