At an elevation of just over 3,800 feet, Mount Diablo State Park offers some of the most breathtaking views in the San Francisco Bay Region, from its eastern edge location.
Standing alone on the edge of the Central Valley, visitors often head straight to the summit to take in the unrivaled views. Contrary to what many may believe, some of the best viewing times are just following a winter or spring storm as the air is clear and there is little haze.
Looking to the west from the summit, outdoor enthusiasts will be treated to views beyond the Golden Gate Bridge to the Fallon Islands; southeast to the James Lick Observatory at Mount Hamilton and north to Mount Saint Helena. On a clear day some have even reported to be able to see Half Dome in Yosemite National Park with the aid of binoculars.
Once a sacred land to the California Indian community, a parcel of land on the mountain was designated as a state park in 1921. In 1931 the state of California secured more land and the Mount Diablo State Park became open to the public. The state park is approximately 20,000 acres of trails for hiking or biking, picnic areas, campgrounds, museums, exhibits and multiple viewing points.
Mitchell Canyon Staging area is where most visitors may start their journey, as this is the main access point to the trails on the north side of Mount Diablo. From here one can hike to Deer Flat and see some natural wildlife or continue on to the summit, a hike distance which is stated to be 6.8 miles.
The “Castle Rock” area is currently closed to visitors through July 31 to protect the Peregrine Falcons during nesting season. The raptor is a “Fully Protected Species,” which is territorial and sensitive to disturbance. This is an annual closure, for this purpose.
The Fossil Ridge area is ideal for the paleontologist at heart as evidence of previous residents is embedded in the rocks. Access to the area is best from Rock City, which hosts large sandstone formations as well as picnic sites and campgrounds.
With a terrain so vast and offering numerous points of interest, visitors may find it best to take advantage of one of the 56 campsites, complete with hot showers and flush toilets. Group sites are available and some offer horse facilities. Trailers are not recommended due to road conditions.
Entrance locations are at the end of Northgate Road, in Walnut Creek and Diablo Road, in Danville. The Danville entrance is also known as Southgate. Two additional entrances with parking for hikers are provided on the northwest side of the park at Mitchell Canyon and Donner Canyon.
The Summit Visitors Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The park is open from 8 a.m. until sundown. Persons interested in visiting the historical state park may best plan their visit by visiting the state park website atwww.parks.ca.gov