Situated approximately 45 miles northeast of San Francisco, Mount Diablo is the highest point in Contra Costa County and its 3,849 ft. high peak is visible from most parts of the Bay Area. The 20,000 acre Mount Diablo State Park was established in 1921 to preserve the land surrounding Mount Diablo and make it available to the public for sightseeing, hiking, biking, bicycle races on the paved road, camping and horseback riding.
After driving along the scenic 15 mile winding road that leads to the summit, the visitor center and the observation deck, people can enjoy views on a clear day that extend for almost 200 miles in all directions and include an area of more than 8,539 square miles. According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, portions of 40 of California’s 58 counties are visible from the Mount Diablo’s summit. Visitors can use telescopes on the observation deck to see as far as the Farallon Islands beyond the Golden Gate Bridge.
According to ancient Miwok and Ohlone Native American Indian mythology, Mount Diablo was worshiped as a point of creation. But the name Mount Diablo appears to have originated with an incorrect English translation from the Spanish “Monte del Diablo”, which means “thicket of the devil” and it referred to a small area where some Chupcan Native American Indians escaped from their captivity in 1805. Many areas of Mount Diablo are still believed to be sacred and all wildlife, vegetation and minerals inside the park are protected by laws. For example, it’s illegal to remove any of those things from the park or to harass any forms of wildlife.
Mount Diablo State Park contains many picnic sites but camping is only allowed in the designated camping areas where advance reservations are required. There are more than 150 miles of hiking trails in the park and some of the best trails include Donner Creek Trail (moderate difficulty), Mount Diablo North Peak Trail (difficult), Mitchell Creek to Diablo Summit (difficult), Mount Diablo Grand Loop Trail (moderate) and Rock City to the Summit (moderate). Rock City is an interesting place for a picnic because it contains the Wind Caves, Fossil Ridge, Sentinel Rock, Elephant Rock and Artist Point. It’s located about 1 mile north of the South Gate Kiosk just off South Gate Road.
If you’re driving from San Francisco, take the Bay Bridge to I-80 east, exit at CA-24 east and continue through the Caldecott Tunnel. At Walnut Creek, take I-680 south and exit at El Cerro Boulevard. Drive east until it becomes Diablo Road and continue east. Then turn left on Mt. Diablo Scenic Boulevard, which will take you into the park where parking is available.
Peter Cross is an accomplished article writer and creative writer who has produced hundreds of articles for many different clients since 2006 when he retired from his consulting business.