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Rock City to the Summit of Mount Diablo

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Mount Diablo State Park

Rock City to the Summit of Mount Diablo is a 7.6 mile heavily 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.

Distance: 7.6 miles Elevation Gain: 2,201 feet Route Type: Out & Back

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

no dogs

This park is temporarily closed to vehicular access, meaning there are no parking facilities and parking on roadways is prohibited to protect public health from the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

Good elevation gain and lots of open scenery in every direction. I prefer more remote hiking-this route takes you across roads, on fire trails, and past several houses. It was 8 miles according to our devices.

hiking
2 months ago

We hiked this trail on a cool, misty day and really enjoyed it. There are several leg- and lung- burning steep stretches of trail, but overall it wasn’t as brutal as I would have expected for a trail labeled as hard. We started early and saw deer all over the trail on the way up the mountain. There were a lot more hikers on the way down and all the deer were long gone. I’m not a hundred percent sure the distance on this trail is accurate. We hiked all the way up to the visitor center and back down and the GPS said we’d walked just over 11 miles.

hiking
3 months ago

I would recommend starting early its a long hike! took about 3.5 hours up and 1.5 down. about 15 miles long

hiking
fee
no shade
off trail
3 months ago

Great trail single track mix of shade and exposure. Uphill for the most part some areas level out. Bring water 2 liters is good you can fill up along the way if needed and light snacks. Couple restrooms along the way and visitor center up top. Sunscreen, hat and jacket for when you reach the summit even if it’s hot at the bottom.

hiking
fee
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

A solid hike. There is a $10 parking fee, but so worth it. parking can be difficult if you don't start early. You can drive to the summit if you want to skip the hike completely. I always recommend people start at Rock City or they miss out on a beautiful area that's pretty diverse from the actual summit trail. The summit trail itself has plenty of beautiful scenes, especially at the summit. fairly rocky and later on near the summit, there is not much shade. There are 2 stops along the length of the trail that have restrooms, so thats a bonus. I'm not an avid hiker whatsoever, but I did not find the trail as challenging as some others. Don't get me wrong, it was difficult, but I'd say just slightly above moderate. Most of the incline comes near the end, by which point you are plenty warmed up. At the summit there is a visitor center with a beautiful view on all sides (They also sell icecream at the top). I brought 3L of water but really only needed about 1.5L to 2L. Overall, not super challenging, just stay hydrated and you'll have a great time.

hiking
no shade
3 months ago

A great workout with pretty amazing views. A few too many people around for my taste and some sections are paved and you regularly cross roads which takes away from the illusion of being out in the wild but some might prefer that. It felt chilly while starting from Rock City in the shade but I'm glad I left my jacket in the car as there's little shade most of the way up. There are a few, very few, short steep sections for example when the trail intersects the road where the soil is loose and you would need good traction. The trail doesn't actually go to the summit and I wanted to just for my satisfaction so I took the short scramble up to the visitor center from the far east point of the Mary Bowerman Loop. Definitely worth doing once, maybe I'll check out a different less traveled section the next time.

hiking
icy
snow
4 months ago

hiking
fee
4 months ago

I found the logistics confusing so hopefully I can help somebody else by sharing my experience. I intended to do this hike but I was convinced while driving that I had missed the trailhead by a long shot! Drive up Mt Diablo Scenic Drive (which begins right where Diablo Rd ends and Blackhawk Rd begins). It’s a little neighborhood-y for a bit but eventually you see a park entrance. You’ll climb over 1000 ft on a windy road, South Gate Road, with a lot of tight blind turns and a lot of bikers going both up and down. Eventually you’ll reach a guard station/gate - not sure when it’s staffed but it appears to be staffed at least on weekends. Pay $10, get a sticker, continue driving. Just a little bit further and you’ll see signs for Rock City to pull off on the left. This is where I parked, and the Summit Trailhead took me a while to find - you need to head back down to the main road (away from the parking) to see the trailhead. What I found so confusing is that in Google Maps and otherwise I thought the Summit Trailhead was down at the bottom of Diablo Scenic Drive? And maybe there is a trailhead all the way down there! But there’s zero parking. Rock City was the first truly viable parking spot, and the begin of this 7.6 mile out-and-back trail. It’s a relatively steady climb up - nothing technical. I found the trek down to be very taxing on my knees. I used the restroom before starting, but saw at least two more en route to the top (and while I didn’t explore the summit much I’m pretty sure there’s one up there too). Finally, there were some blockades set up saying that the Summit Trail was closed for construction or repair or something and saying to take Juniper Trail as an alternative. Uh, it wasn’t closed as far as I could see?? I just kept on climbing inspire of the signage and encountered no issues, and I wasn’t the only hiker doing so.

hiking
4 months ago

Difficult long hike during forest fires! The air was pretty smoky too. Still very fulfilling to finish this long hike!

hiking
bugs
no shade
off trail
rocky
6 months ago

A rather steep and challenging with an abundance of incredible views and wildlife

hiking
fee
6 months ago

There is a $10 fee to enter the State Park. The beginning of this trail is difficult to find/follow. You are actually better off turning into the parking lot and then taking the first right and parking near picnic tables. If you go all the way to the back parking lot where the drinking fountains are, it's more difficult to start the trail with this trail map. Overall the hike is a good one! Difficult due to the constant elevation gain until the peak and also lack of shade for parts. It can get pretty hot! I would recommend 2L of water per person or more on a hotter summer day! The views are beautiful at the top. Probably even better without the haze that we experienced in the Bay area and along the Sierra Mountains. The trail wasn't crowded at all. The parking lot was nearly empty at 10am Saturday morning when we started. But by 2pm when we got back, there were lots of cars due to families exploring.

hiking
no shade
7 months ago

We hiked in the early fall, a perfect weather for this hike, not too hot not too cold! The trail mostly follows the asphalt road to the top, which can be annoying, but sometimes it departs it and offers nice quiet moments. We didn't see a single other hiker but saw a ton of wildlife: birds, deer, lizards, a ground squirrel, a tiny snake, and somehow a wild tarantula!! the hike is not too hard, just a pretty steady elevation gain. The summit offers gorgeous views and we were above all the clouds!

hiking
rocky
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Weekday hike. Never saw another hiker on the trail going up or down. Good workout but the mountain is really best for cyclists.

hiking
no shade
9 months ago

hiking
muddy
no shade
9 months ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
9 months ago

Started at 8:15 and ended at 12:30 with a bit of a rest at the top. Good trail if you want a workout and know what to expect from Mt. Diablo. The first bit of the trail is deceivingly easy but don’t let it fool you. Once you cross the road for the first time it’s a pretty consistent uphill. Definitely be careful crossing the roads, the bikers fly down the hill, as they should. Still some wild flowers at the moment. Overall a good one for a workout but not one that’s secluded or super pretty.

hiking
10 months ago

Tough hike if not in shape. Not much shade except in a few places. Nice views, but nothing spectacular in the terrain. Probably nicest in the Spring with the flowers. I preferred the summit trails out of Clayton. Rock City was a disgrace with all the idiots marking the area up with graffiti.

hiking
10 months ago

An awesome hike! Took us longer than expected and we drank a lot of water along the way. Beautiful views and sightings of deer and bucks, a great horned owl, quail, rabbits, a coyote, doves, and a woodpecker. Poles were of great help.

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