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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.

Length 4.0 mi Elevation gain 1,020 ft Route type Out & Back
Kid friendly Hiking Nature trips Rock climbing Walking Bird watching Running Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife No dogs
Description
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Getting There

Please note: it is unclear where to park to access this trail. Please research prior to your visit. 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.

Although much of this trail is shaded, it can still get quite warm during the summer months. Carry enough water. Drinking water is available at Live Oak camp and at Rock City but those are over two miles into the hike.

The trailhead is reached by taking Diablo Road east from Danville and turning left on Mt. Diablo Scenic Drive. This takes you past Athenian School and a residential area (very rough road in spots). The trail is on the left side when you pass the last private residence. There are several small turnouts available along the side of the road for parking (no fee).

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Reviews (139)
Photos (298)
Recordings (150)
Completed (301)
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Nicki Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 8, 2020
Hiking

loved everything about this trail!

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Cosette Parra
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Backpacking

Kicked my booty. Didn’t go all the way way down but stopped at the bridge and still had a 1000 feet elevation. Look out for ticks

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Alyssa Jaggar
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Hiking

Fantastic trail with a great mix of shade and exposure. Half the trail was single track and half was on dirt access road. One part of the trail was broken with some exposed pipes we needed to jump across but it just added to the adventure.

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Amit P
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Hiking
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Amit P
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Hiking
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Cecilie Jean
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Hiking

Clocked it at 4.7 around 1:45. We didn’t go to Sentinal Rock as there were too many people. But good work out and great trail. 60/40 sun vs shade. Bring lots of water and enjoy!

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Lacey Maugeri
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Hiking

Went w an 8 year old, moderately trafficked more bikers than hikers! Started at 9 beautiful weather!

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Sharokina Yaghoubi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

This was definitely a fun trail! A bit confusing on some parts but my favorite part was climbing the sentimental rock. A good hike for a day :)

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Xochitl Butcher
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HikingRocky
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Jon Roller
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HikingNo shadeRocky

This was a lot longer, there is no parking. It was close to 6.5 miles with parking down the road. Did it with a 6 year old and a 8 year old. They loved it. Rock City is worth the hike.

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Scott Helsinger
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HikingRocky

The trail starts out pretty flat, but once it starts uphill it’s a continuous climb. It wasn’t too steep, but not super easy. We saw a deer, lots of tarantula burrows, and a few birds. There is a parking lot at Rock City, so it got pretty crowded there. There were too many mountain bikes and parts of the trails were not conducive for hikers and bikers at the same time. If there were fewer bikers, it would be a nicer hike.

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Wei Zhao
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HikingOff trail

Good hike, small portion of trail is risky for smaller kids. Good view from the rock!

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Meaghan Praznik
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RunningBugsRocky

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.

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Carlos Carbajal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 11, 2020
Hiking

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...

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Carol Gallagher
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Hiking

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.

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Hannah C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 27, 2020
HikingOff trailRocky

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.

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Debbie Delgadillo
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HikingRocky
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Aislinn Reid
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HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

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.

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Mala Quatman
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Hiking

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

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David Ferguson
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HikingBugs

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.

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Alex Bustillo
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HikingBugsMuddy

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!

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Gracey Morales
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HikingMuddyRocky

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.

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Sue Hopkins
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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!

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