Summit Trail to Rock City and Sentinel Rock

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Mount Diablo State Park

Summit Trail to Rock City and Sentinel Rock is a 4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Diablo, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 4.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,020 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly


nature trips

rock climbing


bird watching




wild flowers


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. The hike starts by the south entrance to Mt. Diablo State Park and follows the Summit trail past the Live Oak camping area. From there it's just a short walk to the Rock City area in the park which is marked by a wide variety of rock structures including the so-called 'wind caves'. These were actually formed through erosion by flowing water creating large hollowed-out areas in the sandstone. A prominent feature is Sentinel Rock that stands well above the surroundings and provides a panoramic view from its summit. There are steps carved into the rock and iron railings at key points for safety when climbing to the top.

Great trail. Lots of variation in terrain. Not crowded at all and great for hiking, mtn biking or running. A little rocky this time of year so be careful when trail running. Some bugs, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Great hike up to Rock City - private neighborhood though with little to no parking available eat the trail head. Due to Covid-19 though rock city was empty. Had the whole park to my self! Crazy...

This is a beautiful trail starting at the gate on Mount Diablo going up Summit Trail toward the top of Mt. Diablo and then circling around to Wall Point Trail and then back down green valley trail to the gate where started. Must go through a couple of “private” areas to get back on Green Valley trail. About 9 mile loop.

off trail
1 month ago

Great trail with nice views and cool rock formation. I would rate it as a hard though because the trail gets pretty steep and rocky towards sentinel rock. Most of the trail is shaded but still hot on a warm day.

no shade
6 months ago

Fun trail to climb and have fun on the rocks. Had to park at the school about a mile away so it added some time to get to the trailhead.

10 months ago

Even in the light rain, the trail was fine. This place is amazing!

11 months ago

Great views and a fairly easy hike. Total mileage count was about 4.75 after parking, which is a nightmare since there is no good spot to park with out risk of a ticket. The first half is up hill but worth the the hike. It was a phenomenal view and the kids enjoyed climbing the rocks. Bugs and flies through out the hike near the water was heavy at times. Watch out for the mountain bikes.

Sun Apr 07 2019

Great trail, not too muddy, flowers are barely sprouting. Rock city was AMAZING would definitely recommend climbing sentinel rock! I would rate this moderate. Bring proper shoes!

Mon Feb 18 2019

muddy after weeks of rain, but what do you expect. beautiful views and little creeks that ran throughout. went through two water bottles not very hard trail.

Thu Aug 02 2018

Wonderful hike, went with 3 kids (9-11) who managed to make it with time. Would give it 5 starts but there was poison oak EVERYWHERE so keep an eye out. Aside from the poison oak there were wonderful views, will be going again (without kids

Tue Jul 31 2018

Parking was impossible at the start of this trail so we parked at Rock City and hiked the top loop and all around that location. Perfect for kids - lots of shade and great climbing and views. Glad we didn’t start at the bottom after all!

Wed Jul 18 2018


Sat Jan 27 2018

Pretty steep. Trail was washed out after the campground, so take the road to Rock City instead. It's very cool!

Fri Dec 29 2017

Sentinel Rock and Rock City are very cool sights to see at the turnaround of this hike. Good trails. Parking is not good at all. There is no parking at all at the trailhead (which is right at the south entrance to the park). There are only a couple spots to park in the neighborhood just below the park

Mon Dec 19 2016

Yes, parking can be a little challenging since they put in rocks on small shoulder to stop people parking there. Park a little up the street or before. Dogs are actually not allowed in Mt Diablo State Park - even leash. Overall great hike, with mix of easy fire trail, good inclines, lower tree canopy for shade, and a ton of fun on rocks in Rock City. Be sure to climb up to top of Sentinel Rock! Can be a little nerve-racking, but you won't be disappointed. This is typically a busy trail on weekends and need to watch for mountain bikes. I would have given 5 stars, but agree parking is challenging. Looking at map, may be better to park in one of neighborhoods on left towards Stone Valley Rd.

12 days ago

24 days ago

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