An Insider’s Guide to Mount Diablo: Hike, Bike & Camp at Mount Diablo
TOWERING 3,849 FEET ABOVE CALIFORNIA, MOUNT DIABLO BRINGS HIKERS, BIKERS AND CAMPERS FROM ALL AROUND TO ITS 20,000-ACRE STATE PARK.
Over 400 plus plant and animal species live amongst the park’s terrain, drawing visitors to experience a diverse natural habitat and incredible panoramic views. It's been said that Mount Diablo’s summit offers views of more square miles of anywhere else in the world behind Mount Kilimanjaro.
With over 40 trails throughout the area, nature lovers can twist through creeks, waterfalls, luscious valleys and wildflower fields. Day hikers can take it easy exploring the natural area on the 0.7-mile Mary Bowerman Interpretive loop or ramp it up on the 6.5-mile Mount Diablo State Park Waterfall loop, which winds through numerous waterfalls, grasslands, oak forests and sunshine.
Spread out and stop for lunch at one of 50 picnic sites equipped with a table and barbeque stove. Three of these areas can even accommodate groups up to 100 people. Picnic areas can be accessed via foot and some can be located off the park’s paved roads.
Bay Area cyclists head towards the mountain in search of a challenging hill climb and a city escape. Cycling the 23.5-mile out and back to the summit is equally difficult and rewarding for both beginning and advanced riders. The ride can be done year-round but with shade limited on the trail many choose to conquer Mount Diablo in the cooler fall and winter months.
Mount Diablo State Park has three designated family camping areas and five group camping areas.
Juniper Campground is located just over two miles from the summit and has 36 campsites available. Hikers can reach the summit from the campground on a short one-mile out and back. Closer to Rock City, Live Oak Campground has 22 sites available and is one-mile from the Southgate entrance. A smaller, more intimate campground can be found at Junction Campground. At the Ranger Station, the six-site campground is nestled in a woodland area and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Camping in Diablo Valley is mainly intended for tent camping, although some sites can accommodate RVs. The park’s campsites are equipped with a picnic table, fire pits, water and lavatories. Juniper and Live Oak also offer showering facilities. Families and larger groups should have no problem finding space at Mount Diablo, but reservations can be made at least 48 hours prior to arrival and up to seven months in advance.
Rock City’s curious sandstone formations and small caves lend the opportunity to explore an unusual kind of Bay Area city. Rock City can be reached from the summit via a five-mile, shady trail. Be sure to look for Sentinel Rock, which offers more of Mount Diablo’s infamous views from its summit.
PARKING & DIRECTIONS
Mount Diablo State Park can be accessed through various entrances. Parking fees range by lot but are all a reasonable price under $10. The park opens at 8:00 AM and closes at sunset each night.
Mount Diablo State Park is pet-friendly and permits dogs on leashes in developed areas of the park. If your dog is making the overnight trip, be sure to keep your pup inside the tent or vehicle overnight.