Mt. Hamilton Bike Ride

If you're looking for a great place to ride your bike in San Jose, California, look no further than Mount Hamilton! The scenic route offers picturesque views of the city and its surrounding areas.

There are plenty of places to stop along the way to take in the view or grab a bite to eat, so you can make a day of it. Mount Hamilton is worth a visit, regardless of whether you are a local or just visiting the city.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about Mount Hamilton Ride and the best things to do there.

About Mount Hamilton Ride

Mount Hamilton is the highest peak in the Diablo Range in Santa Clara County, California. Its peak stands 4265 feet tall and is the site of the Lick Observatory, the world's first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory. On clear days, Mount Tamalpais, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey Bay, the Monterey Peninsula, and even Yosemite National Park are visible from the mountain summit.

If you are taking public transportation, you can take the VTA light rail to the Hamilton stop. From there, it's about a 1.5-mile hike to the top of the mountain. The climb starts at the intersection of Alum Rock Avenue and Mount Hamilton Road in San Jose and ends 18 miles later at the top.

Mount Hamilton is a popular trail for birding, road biking, and scenic driving. There are also options for renting a bike if you don't own one. You'll need to leave your pet home — dogs aren't allowed on the trail.

The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. So grab your bike and hit the road!

Ride to Your Heart's Content 

A ride through Mount Hamilton is a fantastic way to soak in some of San Jose's panoramic views. The route will take you through some of the city's most beautiful neighborhoods and allow you to get a good workout.

The 35.9-mile out-and-back trail is generally considered a challenging route. The whole trip up to the summit takes an average of 15 hours and 29 minutes to complete. So you'd need to bring lots of snacks and water or stop at Caffe Frascati for a coffee or quick meal before starting your ride to ensure you have the energy to make it to the top.

The Lick Observatory, located on the summit of Mount Hamilton, is the goal, but the journey outshines the destination. Make sure to enjoy yourself while taking a ride. Short walks are also available at the mountain.

You can explore the surrounding area, including hiking trails and parks, on your way up. There are also some great restaurants along the way if you need to take a break and refill. We recommend:

  • Mount Hamilton Grandview Restaurant
    Dinner Japonica
    Pizza My Heart
    Milan Italiano
    Evergreen Inn and Pub

Once you've reached the summit, enjoy the picturesque views of the city of San Jose and take some pictures. Also, check out the Lick Observatory before heading back down.

No matter your level of biking experience, Mount Hamilton is a perfect option for a day out.

How Long Does It Take to Ride Mount Hamilton?

The length of your ride on Mount Hamilton will depend on how much you want to explore. It will take about 2-3 hours to get to the top of the mountain, but if you wish to stop and take in the sights along the way, it might take all day.

What Is the Best Time to Ride Mount Hamilton?

The best time of the year to ride on Mount Hamilton is during the spring or fall. These times of the year typically have mild weather, which makes for a more pleasant ride. But make sure you check the weather before you go and skip the ride if it's likely to rain.

There are no set hours for visiting Mount Hamilton, but the gate at the entrance to the mountain closes at sunset. So make sure you start your ride early enough to finish before dark.

Things to Do Near Mount Hamilton Ride

There are plenty of things to do in San Jose, California. If you're looking for other great places to ride your bike, check out Alum Rock Park, Santa Teresa County Park, or Los Gatos Creek Trail. These parks offer beautiful scenery and plenty of trails to explore.

And if you're feeling adventurous, you can go bowling at the Ravalli Fun Center or head to one of the sports bars or wineries in Mount Hamilton.

Here are some tasty food spots we recommend:

  • Marley's Bar and Casino
    Bitter Root Brewing
    Shed Horn Cellars
    Golden Age club
    The Edge Restaurant and Sports Bar

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