Nortonville and Black Diamond Loop

HARD 14 reviews

Nortonville and Black Diamond Loop is a 5.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Antioch, California that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as difficult offers a number of activity options. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,374 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

trail running

cave

views

wildlife

historic site

Once a booming coal mining area, the hills are now quiet and peaceful. Yet, they still offer a glimpse into the past mining history. Five coal mining towns once occupied the Black Diamond area from the 1860s until the early 1900s, the most famous being Nortonville and Somersville. Almost four million tons of coal were removed before coal mining stopped and sand mining began by the Hazel-Atlas glass company. Part of these underground mines are still accessible via guided interpretive tours. This route takes you through the heart of the Black Diamond Mines historic area, and offers panoramic views of the surrounding hills and delta. As you initially ascend the ridge, you will pass the Rose Hill Cemetery, which is a grim but fascinating reminder of the town of Nortonville and the challenging lives its citizens lived. Past the graveyard, you will come to a lookout point that offers the first of many panoramic views. Later, descending the Black Diamond Trail, colorful sandstone rock walls tower above the scattered oak woodland. As you make your way down Black Diamond Way keep your eyes open for the giant Coulter Pines, and see if you can find “Jim’s Place”, where the “door” is always open! A little further up Black Diamond Trail is a small side trip to the Air Shaft. Make a right on Cumberland Trail, go about 100 yards and it’s on your left. Turn around and return to Black Diamond Trail to continue uphill on main route. Enjoy other beautiful views and rock formations on the rest of the hike. Park at the parking lot .8 miles up the road from the Visitor Center. Walk up the trail, past the restrooms, and continue straight and slightly to the right onto Nortonville Trail. Follow the trail posts, staying on Nortonville Trail as it begins to climb towards Rose Hill Cemetery. You may wish to explore the cemetery or bypass it by staying on the main trail. Once past the cemetery, continue uphill and over the ridge, and drop down into Nortonville. Stay left on the trail straight into Coal Canyon and head up the single track trail, straight ahead at the base of the canyon. At the top past Jim’s Place make a left on the paved Black Diamond Trail. Continue uphill until you reach a closed Park Gate. Take the left just before the Gate on a dirt road which is Black Diamond Trail. Continue on this all the way back to the ridge above the cemetery and make a right at the fork onto Nortonville Trail and retrace your steps down past the cemetery, descending back to the parking lot where you began. Fees: $5 Seasonal, weekends and holidays, $4 per trailered vehicle, $2 per dog

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

Beautiful view especially at the beginning couple of miles. Going up the rose hill for a panoramic view of the rolling hills.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail to do especially in spring or winter... Too hot and dry in summer.

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12 days ago

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2 months ago

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2 months ago

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3 months ago

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4 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

recorded

Sunday, March 01, 2015

recorded

hiking
Thursday, February 26, 2015