5 Great Mountain Top Vistas in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area is surrounded by incredible mountain ranges that offer awe-inspiring vistas if you know where to go
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If heights bother you then this list of some of our favorite vistas in the San Francisco Bay Area is not for you! Of course, if you have ever visited the San Francisco Bay Area region you know that just about everywhere is a great view but there is something special about the vistas and overlooks listed below. Views of the Pacific Ocean to the San Francisco skyline are breathtaking and humbling. Pack a lunch, grab the family and head out to the top of the world in this list of our favorite mountain top vistas!

1. Mount Umunhum - Santa Clara County

Mount Umunhum is located in the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve and is one of the highest peaks in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 3,486 feet. The views here are 360 degrees from the Pacific Ocean to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Pack a lunch and some cold refreshments and enjoy the viewing stations, hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails. Check out the Open Space website for more information on conditions and information pertaining to Mount Umunhum.

2. Mount Diablo - Contra Costa County

Mount Diablo is located in Contra Costa County in the Diablo Mountains.  Visible from most of the San Francisco Bay Area it’s peak rises 3,849 feet above sea level. Most visitors head straight to the summit to witness the dramatic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the East. Parts of 40 of the 58 counties in California can be seen from the top. Telescopes are mounted to the observation deck to help visitors navigate some of the best views in the world. Check the State Parks website for updated information before your trip!

3. Mount Hamilton - Santa Clara County

Mount Hamilton is located in the Diablo Mountain Range and is south of Mt. Diablo up in Contra Costa County and taller at 4,265 feet. State Route 130 cuts through Mount Hamilton from Highway 101, El Camino Real to Patterson and Interstate 5. On a clear day you can see the Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey Bay and the Sierra Nevadas. Allow yourself plenty of time for the drive up and back. It is a mountain road and switchbacks are the norm on your climb up.

4. Oakland Zoo - Alameda County

The Oakland Zoo made the list because when I saw the view from the upper California Trail Landing Cafe food court, the view blew me away!  There was something refreshing about just relaxing and eating lunch someone else made while overlooking the entire north bay region. Plus, all of the animals were a huge plus as well. Great family adventure!

5. Cone Peak - Monterey County

Cone Peak is the second tallest peak in the coastal Santa Lucia Mountain Ranges and the overlook to the Pacific Ocean is blissful at 5,155 feet. The peak has some one of a kind geologic features and interesting flora and fauna. The hike up is a couple miles of switchbacks.  For access, drive Highway 1, Pacific Coast Highway and turn off on Nacamiento-Fergusson Road and then turn north on Forest Route 22S05.

Bring the Mountain Top Vistas Home

Bring home and map out your favorite mountain top vistas with our Roadside Secrets Pacific Coast Highway Wall Map – San Francisco to Big Sur. It’s hand-drawn and full of adventure, making it the perfectly unique way to show your love for this incredible region.

About The Author

Robert Bytheway

Robert Bytheway

I have a passion for the outdoors and exploring as much as I possibly can. Mountain Biking the Santa Cruz Mountains is my favorite activity and get out on my bike any chance I get! I also have a love for motor sports from classic cars to 4x4 trucks!

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