Rock City to the Summit of Mount Diablo

HARD 118 reviews
#6 of 48 trails in

Rock City to the Summit of Mount Diablo is a 8.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Danville, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

8.1 miles
1971 feet
Out & Back




nature trips

rock climbing

trail running




wild flowers



no shade

no dogs

From Rock City hike up to the summit. This trial offers scenic views and breathtaking climbs. Although steep in sections, it is a great hike. This park is one of the ecological treasures of the San Francisco Bay Area. Many visitors to Mount Diablo head straight for the summit to enjoy the famous view. Summer days are sometimes hazy, and the best viewing is often on the day after a winter storm. Then, you can look to the west, beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Farallon Islands; southeast to the James Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton at 4,213 feet elevation; south to Mount Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 3,791 feet elevation, north to Mount Saint Helena in the Coast Range at 4,344 feet elevation, and still farther north to Mount Lassen in the Cascades at 10,466 feet. North and east of Mount Diablo the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers converge to form the twisting waterways of the Delta. To the east beyond Califomia's great central valley, the crest of the Sierra Nevada seems to float in space.

18 hours ago

Knocked this one out today in about 3.5 hours round trip. I will probably do it again, just wish there wasn’t a road all the way to the top that allowed tourist to just drive up. I may be old fashioned, but the best part of the hike should be the summit, and that is greatly diminished when everyone can just walk 50 feet from their car to the summit.
If you are more hardcore into hiking and camping. This one will probably just annoy you.

6 days ago

The first half of the trail is not very interesting when the wild flowers are not blooming. Most of the trails are lower in elevation therefore did not have a vista good view. The trail intersects with the summit road at least four times so watch out for traffics. Definitely got more interesting at the latter half close to the summit. A bit disappointing that it is so close to the road at many section if you are looking for tranquility.

30 days ago

Challenging for sure for us 50 somethings but well worth the effort

1 month ago

Rock City is so fun! What a great little area for picnic or just adventuring around! I never knew there was such a unique little spot so close to home!

This hike is beautiful in the winter when it's foggy. the whole time we were looking down on an ocean of white clouds. And it wasn't too hot in January. It was perfect hiking weather. There were also a lot of beautiful madrone and manzanita trees covered in green moss. Winter is definitely the time to go. I couldn't imagine the misery of hiking up to the summit it the summer. The hike was a good workout, especially the last 2 miles before reaching the summit. The first 2 miles are pretty mild, but gorgeous.

1 month ago

Great hike. Luckily the weather was very favorable. It was cloudy and cold. This hike can get very difficult in the sun as there is very less shade. We took 4 hours to complete the hike.

The trail markers are not very helpful for first time visitors. We started the hike near artist point with trail through time trail and then joined the summit trail. Most parts of the hike is on constant slope which makes it a bit strenuous. Recommend to carry lots of water. There are restrooms on the way.

1 month ago

Ok, not as long as expected (maybe the trail was closed off or I missed a turn to extend the hike) and the sights are covered in graffiti, it was unfortunate =\
Didn't feel it was worth the entrance fee when there are so many other choices.

3 months ago

6 months ago

This is a HARD trail, very little shade, and consistent inclined on the way up. Don't go on a hot day

7 months ago

Used to hiking in the PNW, so I'll be honest here: was no expecting the heat and lack of shade. It was a tough hike that did offer a nice (albeit brown) view of the surrounding landscape in 360. If you look closely you can see SF from the summit, though not as nice a view as the summit of Mt. Tam.

Warning: there are water spouts along the trail. Don't drink from any of them except the one at the summit in the parking lot.

7 months ago

A lengthy and a moderate level hike. Not so crowded for a 4th of July weekend. Most of the trees and flowers were dried and it was not a scenic hike.

10 months ago

Try not to get yourself to tired at Rock city, before this hike, as it gets pretty steep in parts. "a trail through time" is nice but a little narrow do to poison oak. the mountain is covered with wild flowers and other blooms this year.

11 months ago

If you park near rock city which that is where your GPS will take you, there isn't very much of a hike. The trail was more touristy, so expect alot of people. It was nice when you're alone and the trail veers off here and there. The main trail is the "trail through time" and is pretty much the main trail. There are some if you go opposite of Rock city. It's nice for a first time visit, but I probably won't be going again. And it's also in a state Park, so expect to pay $10 at the gate and a lot of bike riders on the road. Very much a main stream trail

Monday, February 06, 2017

One word: amazing! Took the Pittsburg trail up to the red rocky summit with a beautiful overlook. I am always near Mount Diablo and I will do this hike again.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Rock city is awesome!!! Big rocks to climb everywhere! The hike up to the summit is a little hard but worth it when you get to the top. 360• view of the Bay Area

Monday, January 02, 2017

Rock City to Summit via Summit Trail. Hiked this with my 17-year-old son. It was great bonding time, and he was very patient with me. The trail is well maintained, which is nice. However, the trek up was tough for me. It took 3.5 hours to the Summit and 2 hours back down. I would rate it moderate plus some. There are virtually no switchbacks, so you are hiking uphill, albeit gradually, the entire way. Informational signs and center at top were interesting. Plenty of opportunity for bathrooms but no potable water sources between Rock City and the Summit, so come prepared and fill up when you can.

Monday, January 02, 2017

This was a challenging hike from the sandstone formations of Rock City up to the summit of Mount Diablo. This 9.5-mile double lollipop loop hike took 5 hours to complete. Much of the Rock City trail, Summit trail and Juniper trail are along the “Trail Through Time” with its interpretive signs describing 190 million years of geological history. At Rock City we hiked amongst the Wind Caves and climbed up Sentinel Rock before proceeding up the Summit trail. The summit is at 3,848 feet. When we were up there we had rain and it turned into snow. We returned on the Juniper trail passing Juniper Camp and back to the Summit trail.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Awesome.. great views at several points throughout, but the trek itself provides great memories should you go the entire way to the summit,

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Great trail however the trailhead and starting point are not clear. Read above comments for best directions.

Plan more time than expected. I accidentally ended up hiking a portion of the trail in the dark. I was prepared with a headlamp however because of the nature of the trailhead not being clear it could be easy to get turned around. Near rock city there is a huge network of social trails, just be aware and take a gps point of where you parked your car.

Incredible views and beautiful around to rock city!! Great diversity of ecosystems and terrain. Awesome summit.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Great hike. Glad we found it on this great Ap.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Get hot not much shade, if any. Drink lots of water. Had a picnic on the return. And loved every moment.

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