Berryessa Peak Bay Area Nifty Ninety Peakbagging
Summit of Berryessa Peak, one of the finest additions to the list

I cover a lot of obscure mountains and hikes on this website. Often I hike a mountain because it lands on an equally unknown peakbagging list, such as the Bay Area Nifty Ninety Peaks. Peakbagging is a relentless though highly questionable pursuit of tagging summits in a systematic way. Though heavily ridiculed by "serious climbers", I've never met another peakbagger who wasn't having a hell of a time. After several years of living in the Bay Area, I'm approaching completion of this little known (and slightly absurd) peakbagging achievement

Background on the Bay Area Nifty Ninety Peaks

The Bay Area Nifty Ninety Peakbagging List came out sometime in 2017 without much fanfare. It's compiled and maintained by from the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Sierra Club. There are no well-defined inclusion criteria for the list other than all the summits are on public land. Altitude, topographic prominence, fame nor aesthetics play role in the list. Presumably it was an answer to the vigorously maintained peakbagging lists of the Los Angeles Chapter. Unlike the Hundred Peaks Section List of Southern California, this list remains unchanged since its inception. There are no other club-maintained lists in the Bay Area.

The Full List

Here's the full list, ranked by elevation and including topographic prominence. I included my assessment of difficulty with 1 being a drive-up or short walk, 5+ being an extremely difficult hike. A few of them have links to my trip reports.

 PeakElevationProminenceDifficulty (1-5)
1Mount Saint Helena434318234
2Mount Hamilton4213531
3Mount Saint Helena-South Peak40031634
4Mount Diablo38493109Variable
5Rose Peak38172175+
6North Peak35575974
7Mount Umunhum34865664
8Mount Sizer32165765
9Schlieper Rock3080+ 04
10Berryessa Peak305713775+
11El Sombroso29992805
12Antler Point29994394
13Mount Olympia2946663
14Goat Rock292002
15Mount Vaca281919592
16Black Mountain2800+7475
17Mount Hood273019704
18Bald Mountain27295593
19Nibbs Knob2694943
20Willson Peak26515715
21Monument Peak2600+803
22Borel Hill25724523
22Mount Tamalpais-East Peak25723324
24Mission Peak25171973
25Table Rock2462222
26Bald Mountain2387671
27Eagle Peak23692893
28Burra Burra Peak22814815+
29Vasquez Peak2210504
30Pine Mountain22088083
31Mindego Hill21433832
32Bills Hill19886283
33Windy Hill1930130Variable
34Vollmer Peak190513052
35Montara Mountain18984864
36Mount Madonna18971882
37Table Mountain1852923
38Vista Grande1840+403
39Las Trampas Peak18274273
40Vail Peak17871073
41Round Top17634552
42Pine Mountain176210423
43Grizzly Peak1740+1002
44McAbee Overlook173003
45Mine Hill17283283
46Eagle Peak1720403
47Brushy Peak17027223
48Maguire Peak16884883
50Redwood Peak16193792
51Chalk Mountain16095095+
52Loma Alta15929423
53Burdell Mountain155810384
54Rose Hill15063863
55Briones Peak1483823Variable
56Barnabe Mountain14668664
57Church Hill1459593
58White Hill14343082
59Mott Peak1424225Variable
60Mount Wittenberg140710073
61Flag Hill1360+03
62Russell Peak13571573
63Point Reyes Hill13426623
64San Bruno Mountain131411144
65Saint Joseph's Hill12531732
66Wildcat Peak12111912
67Pilot Knob11872672
68Coyote Peak11701302
69Coyote Peak11555953
70Donlan Point1139991
71Sulphur Springs Mountain11125123
72San Pedro Mountain1080+8403
72Tolman Peak1080+03
72Gossip Rock1080+03
75Wolf Ridge960+3203
76Garin Peak9482013
77Slacker Hill9372742
78Mount Davidson925+6282
79Twin Peaks9223321
80Hawk Hill9203201
81Mount Sutro9082081
82Mount Caroline Livermore7817813
83Mount Wanda640+02
84Tank Hill600+151
85Corona Heights Crag500+951
86Bernal Heights460+2651
87Nob Hill365+1751
88Russian Hill355+851
89Telegraph Hill295+2001
90Hayes Hill270+501

Bay Area Nifty Ninety Map

Here's a map of all the summits. Each point has the altitude, topographic prominence and my 1-5 assessment of difficulty, views, hike quality and wilderness (i.e. is it in a city or far from a public road. I have my overall rating from 1-5 as well and some short comments on each summit

Overall Top 10

There's several on the list that are timeless adventures and worth peakbagging more than once. My favorites of the list, in no particular order are:

  • #5 Rose Peak, 3,817' - One of the most challenging hikes in the Bay Area and the only summit that is often backpacked rather than day-hiked.
  • #6 North Peak (Mt Diablo), 3557' - Leave the hoards of hikers at Mt Diablo's summit behind with this equally magnificent alternative.
  • #8 Mt Sizer, 3,215' - Any hike of Mt Sizer gets deep into the heart of Henry Coe State Park. Guaranteed solitude.
  • #10 Berryessa Peak, 3,057' - Extremely remote summit (by Bay Area standards) with sweeping views of Lake Berryessa, the Coast Ranges and the Central Valley.
  • #16 Black Mountain, 2800+' - Favorite hike of Silicon Valley with no easy way up.
  • #28 Burra Burra Peak, 2281' - This far flung summit in Henry Coe Wilderness is an easy hike from the Dowdy Ranch entrance. However the entrance is closed almost all the time which makes this the least climbed summit on the list. When I climbed it in spring 2021, there were only three parties on the summit register for the year.
  • #48 Maguire Peak, 1688' - A gem of Sunol Regional Wilderness. Trailhead is obscure and hard to get to, therefore the hike is rarely done. Exceptional views of the Tri-Valley.
  • #51 Chalk Mountain, 1609' - Deep in the heart of the Big Basin wilderness. Untrampled and unspoiled.
  • #56 Barnabe Mountain, 1466' - My favorite in Marin County. Lush woods lead to a panoramic view of the Point Reyes area.
  • #82 Mt Caroline Livermore, 781' - A well known mountain and hike with unparalleled views of the San Francisco Bay
Chalk Mountain - Bay Area Nifty Ninety Peakbagging
Chalk Mountain is in the exquisite wilderness of Big Basin State Park

Most Difficult

Difficulty is hard to gauge on the Bay Area Nifty Ninety given that many of the summits have easy and hard routes. But some of them have no easy routes. Based on overall difficulty of any/all routes, here's my ranking:

  • #5 Rose Peak, from Sunol 18.2 miles, 4,100' of gain (from Del Valle Park 20 miles, 4,400' of gain)
  • #8 Sizer Peak via "The Shortcut", 13.8 miles, 4,200' of gain
  • #10 Berryessa Peak, 15.3 miles 3,100' of gain
  • #16 Black Mountain via Rhys Ridge, 10.5 miles, 2,600' of gain
  • #1/#3Mount Saint Helena and South Peak, 11 miles, ~3,000' of gain
  • #11 Mt El Sombroso from Mt Umunhum Road, 10.5 miles, 2,600' of gain
  • #7 Mt Umunhum, 7.7 miles, 1,100' of gain
Rose Peak - Bay Area Nifty Ninety Peakbagging
Rose Peak is the most remote and difficult hike of the Bay Area Nifty Ninety


For novice hikers or people who just want a nice view, here are the easiest of the bunch:

  • #2: Mt Hamilton, 4,213' - This is the site of the famous observatory. There's no hike option, only driving or a really difficult road bike ride.
  • #4 Mt Diablo, 3,849' - Mt Diablo is an easy drive-up for most. Short hikes exist as well.
  • #18 Bald Mountain, 2,729' - A short walk from the Mt Umunhum trailhead. Nice views of the South Bay.
  • #70 Donlan Point, 1,139' - A short walk overlooking the pass separating the East Bay and Tri-Valley.
  • #79 Twin Peaks, 922' - More of a walk than a hike. Best view in San Francisco proper.
  • #80 Hawk Hill, 920' - Short walk in the Marin Headlands. Classic vista of the Golden Gate.
  • #81 Mt Sutro, 908' - Nature sanctuary within San Francisco. The Sutro Tower is NOT on Mt Sutro.
  • #84 Tank Hill, 600' - Not a mountain by any measure but a phenomenal view from near the center of San Francisco. No tour busses!
  • #85 Corona Heights 500' - Pleasant city park near center of the city.
  • #86 Bernal Heights 460' - Similar park to Corona Heights near city center.
  • #87 Nob Hill 365' - Actual highpoint is up a stairway labeled Priest Street.
  • #88 Russian Hill 355' - Just a high city street but there's some pretty architecture nearby.
  • #89 Telegraph Hill 295' - Famous for the Coit Tower.
  • #90 Hayes Hill 270' - High hill of Alamo Square Park.
Tank Hill Park - Bay Area Nifty Ninety
Tank Hill is my favorite of the San Francisco hills

Well, those are my impression of this peakbagging list! Have you done the Bay Area Nifty Ninety? What are your thoughts?