Mt. Diablo State Park
Mt. Diablo State Park Photos
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Mt. Diablo is one of the ecological and historical treasures of the East Bay. It has an extensive trail system, interesting (and very friendly) wildlife, amazing rock formations, beautiful wildflowers in the spring, fossilized evidence of previous inhabitants, and an unparalleled 360 degree view from its 3,800 foot summit.
When we visited we spent about 1.5 hours at Rock City exploring the wind tunnels, scrambling over rocks, investigating the caves, and having lunch with a brash raccoon. The picnic area sites were very pretty and very clean. Afterwards, we drove further up to the summit and spent half an hour taking in the views. It is said you can see 22 counties on a clear day.
In February 2013 we hiked the back side of Mt. Diablo in Clayton. We took the trail to the Donner Cabin Site. We had hopes of hiking to the waterfalls, but other hikers informed us it was a strenous 2-3 hour hike. With two young kids we just decided to take it easy instead. The beauty of the hike made up for not seeing the waterfalls.
Beware the rules regarding dogs are very restrictive at Mt. Diablo. They have to be leashed at all times and are not allowed on trails or fire roads. There are three easy entrances to the park: North Gate and Oak Grove Rd from Walnut Creek, Diablo Rd from Danville, and the Mitchell Canyon Staging Area can be reached from Mitchell Canyon Rd in Clayton. The park gates are open from 8 am to sunset. The summit visitor's center is open from 10 am to 4 pm.