Copernicus Peak (Mt. Hamilton), 1329m+ (4,368ft+)

Mountain area : Diablo Range, Santa Clara, California USA
Map :
Books : California County Summits (Gary Suttle)
Primary Factor:
Hiked : July 2000
Lick Observatory seen from Copernicus Peak

Lick Observatory seen
from Copernicus Peak


Copernicus Peak is the highest point on Mt. Hamilton, home of the famous Lick Observatory. Copernicus Peak is also the highest point in Santa Clara county. One can choose to hike, bike or drive the approx. 20-mile Mt. Hamilton road from the outskirts of San Jose. One suggestion might be to drive to the Smith Creek Ranger Station (656m) and hike from there. The views south and north towards the Diablo Range, and west towards Silicon Valley are superb.

Trail descriptions:

San Jose - Copernicus Peak (summer)

Difficulty : Easy. Length at own desire
Risk : None (watch for cars on a curvy road)
Distance : Approx. 20 miles, at most
Time : Depending on the length of the hike
Starting Elev.:

Map of the area
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Topozone Interactive Map
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From I680, exit onto Alum Rock Avenue. Continue approx 1 mile and exit onto Mt. Hamilton road. You will have to determine where to start your hike from. If you are looking for a short hike, drive all the way up to the observatory and park there.

The trail:

From Lick Observatory, continue east on the road, pass the water tanks and head for the lookout tower. There is a shortcut trail to the lookout tower that can be approached head on. Copernicus Peak is an obvious high point. Nothing higher on Mt. Hamilton.


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The road up to Mt. Hamilton (194KB) View towards Silicon Valley & San Jose (187KB) View from Mt. Hamilton (235KB) View from Mt. Hamilton (383KB)

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