Mount Diablo State Park

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Walnut Creek
Contra Costa
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Mount Diablo marks the highest point in the East Bay area of California. The elevation of the peak when taking into account the relative low elevation of the Central Valley means that the views here can stretch for hundreds of miles under the right conditions. To the east it's not unknown to get a view of snow covered peaks in the high Sierras near Lake Tahoe.

The size of the state park and some of the amenities found here are more reminiscent of a national park. Mount Diablo has the trail mileage to live up to that expectation. It just feels bigger in person than it looks on a map.

Rock City is a series of sandstone outcroppings that provide ample scrambling opportunities for young and old alike. The soft stone has allowed for the etching of useful hand and footholds to make ascents and descents easier. The variety of formations and differing sizes mean that there's something here for serious climbers and even children.

The visitor center at the Mount Diablo peak is the highlight of most people's visit to the park and thus draws the most crowds. The roads leading up to the peak are popular bike routes for those looking for a strenuous workout.

View from the summit
A view from the Mount Diablo summit tower. The low lying fog made seeing into the valleys a bit tough, but one could still for hundreds of miles. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Summit  Area
The Civilian Conservation Corps built some of the tower structure at the summit of Mount Diablo. It provides views from the Pacific Ocean in the west almost to Nevada in the east. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Indian Grinding Holes
Indians living in the area used the rock to grind acorns into a flour-like meal. Eventually they formed some of the deep holes seen here. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Coppertone checks out the Grotto formation near the Rock City parking area. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Wind Caves
A visitor checks out the Wind Caves formation. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
We made it
Coppertone and me at the top of Sentinel Rock. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Sentinel View
A view from Sentinel Rock. A low lying fog prevented clearer views into the valleys below. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Toward Sentinel Rock
A family has stopped on a rock along the way to pose for photos. Farther in the distance one can make out several folks at the top of Sentinel Rock. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Towards the summit
The summit of Mount Diablo can be seen to the right in the distance, easier to spot due to the communications tower up there. To the left a group of people can be seen resting on another Rock City outcropping. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
To the top
Coppertone at the top of one of the boulders in Rock City. Note the toeholds that have been worn into the soft sandstone over the years. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Looking out
A view from one rock outcropping to another. The couple in the distance had some difficulty talking their daughter down from their perch. Scrambling down is sometimes harder because one can't see all of the toeholds used on the way up. (Photo by Austin Explorer)
Recommended Item
Recommended Item Day Hiker's Guide to California's State Parks
John McKinney
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Contains 150 day hikes in Southern California's magnificent state park system. Includes walks in the parks, preserves, and historic sites in mountains, forests, desert and coastal locales. From Anza-Borrego's palm oases (near San Diego) to the magnificent redwoods at Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay to the Salton Sea. This single volume is a great addition to the library of every hiking enthusiast, families and seasoned veterans alike.