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Mount Diablo SP

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Live Mount Diablo SP State Park webcam from Danville



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Incline Village lakefront vacation rental - "Tahoe Blue Cabin"

Main Entrances Fee - $6.00 per car / Seniors 62 and over - $6.00 per car
Mitchell Canyon and Macedo Ranch - $5.00 per car / Seniors 62 and over - $4.00 per car
Annual Day Use Parking Pass - $125.00

For reservations and information, call Ranger Carl Nielson at 925-837-6129 (ext 2)

$20.00 - May 15 through September 15
$15.00 - September 16 through May 14
$7.00 - Additional vehicles
$2.00 - Senior Discount (off Camping Fees)

Summit Visitor Center - Open Daily 10am - 4pm

The mountain is close to the San Francisco Bay Area. It has distinctive rock formations. Bike ride to its 3,849 foot summit or explore the more remote trails by horseback. Mt. Diablo offers hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping.

Mt. Diablo Fire Lookout

Highway 680 to Danville; take Diablo Road exit, then 3 miles east to Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd.

Aerial views of Mt. Diablo State Park:
Click here: Mount Diablo and Mount Diablo 2

Seasons/Climate/Recommended clothing
Summers are generally hot and dry. The rainy season is generally from November through mid-March. Visitors in the winter occasionally experience a snowfall on the mountain peak.

Click here: Mt. Diablo Map: $9.95

Facilities - Activities
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 meet 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.
The Fire Interpretive Trail
Just below the summit, this trail offers spectacular vistas that can be enjoyed along the way. The first half of the gentle 0.7-mile loop trail is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. Pick up a copy of the trail Nature Guide at the trailhead.

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Rock City
You'll find unusually large sandstone formations and small caves here.
Boy Scout Rocks and Sentinel Rock
These are popular places near Rock City for rock climbing. Check with the ranger for regulations and the best approach.
Fossil Ridge
Evidence of previous residents is embedded in these rocks. Please leave them for future visitors to see.
Deer Flat
You are likely to see some of the mountain's natural wildlife as you take this moderately strenuous 1.6-mile hike from Juniper Camp.
Mitchell Canyon Staging Area
This is the main access point to trails on the mountain's north side. From here you can hike to Deer Flat (3.7 miles) or all the way to the summit (6.8 miles) by way of Juniper Camp.

Diablo Valley Overlook
From here near Juniper Campground, 3,200 feet above sea level, you can see the Golden Gate.
Summit Museum - Open Wed. through Sun. 10:00am - 4:00pm
The summit museum is located in the historic stone building atop Mt. Diablo's highest peak. The tower was constructed during the late 1930's of fossiliferous sandstone blocks quarried in the park. The Visitor Center highlights the cultural and natural history of Mt. Diablo State Park. Visit the Mitchell Canyon Information Center on the north side of the mountain. Exhibits
Impressive exhibits chronicle the history of the mountain and capture its majesty. A rock wall with instructional video examines the geological forces which created the mountain. Panels describe the native American history of the region. A diorama, complete with native sounds, offers an overview of the park's ecosystems. A model of the mountain acquaints visitors with important park locations. Splendid photographs enhance the visitor's experience. In addition to the exhibits, the summit museum features a gift shop and audio-visual room.
Art Gallery


Rotating displays of the fine interpretive art by local artists and photographers complement the permanent exhibits.
Observation Deck
Telescopes are mounted on the deck to help visitors enjoy one of the finest views in the world. On the walk up the circular stairway to the observation deck, visitors are treated to a look at ancient marine fossils embedded in the sandstone walls of the summit building. In the rotunda they are reminded of Mt. Diablo's importance as a survey point. Above the rotunda is a beacon, historically important to aviators and now lighted once a year on December 7 in memory of those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor.
Mitchell Canyon Interpretive Center
The Mitchell Canyon Interpretive Center, located in Mount Diablo State Park at the south end of Mitchell Canyon Road in Clayton, California, is staffed by park volunteers. The gift shop is operated by the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, which works as a support group to the park in providing visitors with information so they can better enjoy the park and its natural wonders.
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The Center has displays about various aspects of Mt. Diablo State Park, such as geology, wildlife, trails, and plant life. Interpretive materials about the Park, such as geology, wildlife, and plants, are for sale. trail maps, and water for sale.

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Mount Diablo State Park is a state park in Contra Costa County, California in the San Francisco Bay Area, located south of the town of Clayton and northeast of Danville. The park is approximately 20,000 acres (80 km˛) in area and includes as its centerpiece Mount Diablo, an isolated 3,849-foot (1,173 m) upthrust peak that is visible from most of the San Francisco Bay Area and much of northern California.

The park was the first public open space of a complex now including twenty-nine preserves including adjacent and nearby city open spaces, regional parks, watersheds, etc., buffered in some areas with private lands protected with conservation easements. Preserved lands on and around Mt. Diablo total more than 89,000 acres (360 km˛).

The park is popular in winter, when Bay Area residents can enjoy the rare experience of snowfall on the mountain. Snow occurs from the lower reaches of the park all the way to the peak, as was the case in February of 2001 and February and March of 2006. On Friday, March 10, 2006, an extremely cold storm moved into the region from the Gulf of Alaska, and noticeable amounts of snow fell in all regions of the Bay Area above 500 ft. The summit of the mountain received a foot of snow at its peak, and the access roads were closed to automobiles at the 3,000 ft. mark due to the hazardous, arctic conditions above.


View of the bay and Mount Diablo from Windy Hill

The summit of Mount Diablo itself is accessible by motor vehicle, hiking, running, or bicycle (the record time from The Athenian School in the town of Diablo to the summit is under 45 minutes; casual bicycle riders should bring plenty of food and water).

On a clear day, it is possible to view the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the southernmost mountain of the volcanic Cascade Range, Mount Lassen. Owing to the earth's curvature it is not possible to see the larger Mount Shasta, although Half Dome in Yosemite National Park can be viewed with a telescope when the atmosphere is exceptionally clear.

The best views can be found the day after a winter storm, but during the summer visibility can be somewhat hazy. From Stockton, CA, on a clear day, and from many other places similarly distant, Mt. Diablo and its range can be seen along with the Sierra Nevada (US) on the eastern horizon. Approximately a mile northeast of the summit is North Peak at 3,557 feet (1,084 m).

Mt. Diablo Photos

View of Mt. Diablo from Dinosaur Hill Park above the city of Pleasant Hill

According to a sign at the summit, it is possible to view the second greatest surface area seen from any peak in the world, exceeded only by the 19,340 foot (5,895 m) Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. This myth was promulgated by early real estate promoter Robert Noble Burgess, who built the first auto roads to Diablo's summit, as a draw to his Mt. Diablo Estates project, c. 1914-1917. The Mt. Kilimanjaro qualifier was first added in the 1928 Standard Oil Bulletin, which described the new Standard Diablo (SD) Tower.

The lack of surrounding peaks does indeed give the intimidating mountain an immense view. However, Diablo's relatively low height and the curvature of the earth limit the visible horizon over the sea and surrounding plains to approximately 78 miles (125 km). Beyond that, only ridges are visible and then only on their appropriately facing sides. Many higher peaks around the world offer greater general viewing distances over seas and flat plains.

One calculation shows that the viewshed from Mount McKinley (Denali) in Alaska is about three times greater. Nor is it plausible that more viewable area can be seen from the Diablo summit than any other peak in the lower 48 states. The viewshed east from Colorado summits (e.g. Pike's Peak) over the Great Plains is much greater. See the panorama external link at the foot of this page.


Mount Diablo is sacred to many California Native American peoples; according to Miwok mythology, it was the point of creation.

The conventional view is that the peak derives its name from the 1805 escape of several Chupcan Native Americans from the Spanish in a nearby willow thicket. The Spanish thus gave the thicket the name "Monte del Diablo", meaning "thicket of the devil", which was later applied to Don Salvio Pacheco's Rancho Monte del Diablo, the present-day site of the city of Concord. The name's origin was misinterpreted by English-speaking newcomers to refer to the mountain rather than the thicket.[1]

In 1851 the peak of the mountain was selected by Colonel Leander Ransom as the initial point — where the Mt Diablo Base and Meridian lines intersect — for cadastral surveys of a large area. Subsequent surveys in much of California, Nevada and Oregon were located with reference to this point. Toll roads up the mountain were created in 1874 by local hoteliers, and an aerial navigation beacon was erected at the summit in 1928.

After initial legislation in 1921, the state of California acquired enough land in 1931 to create a small state park around the peak. Many improvements were carried out in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps but park expansion slowed in the 1940s, '50s and '60s. Significantly, botanist Mary Leolin Bowerman (1908-2005) published her Ph.D in 1936 at U.C. Berkeley and then in 1944 the book, The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Mount Diablo, California. Her study boundaries became the basis for the state park's first map and for the park's eventual expansion, as well as the origin of many of the park's place names.

This initial park has been greatly expanded over the years. Soon after Earth Day, in 1971 the nonprofit organization Save Mount Diablo was created by co-founders Bowerman and Art Bonwell, barely ahead of real estate developers. At the time the State Park included just 6,788 acres and was the only park in the vicinity of the mountain. In 2006 the State Park totals almost 20,000 acres and with 28 other parks and preserves created nearby, Diablo's public lands total more than 89,000 acres. Now, the State Park in many places on its western side adjoins parklands of the East Bay Regional Park District, in turn adjoining protected areas owned or controlled by local cities such as the Borges Ranch Historic Farm and nearby Shell Ridge Open Space and Indian Valley, owned by the city of Walnut Creek. State park expansion continues on the northern and eastern sides of the mountain.

In 2005, a man from the neighboring town of Oakley, petitioned the federal government to change the name of the mountain (Contra Costa Times, Oct. 14 2005, "Board Decides Mount Diablo Will Keep Name"), claiming it offended his Christian beliefs (despite the fact that the mountain was named by Christian settlers). He initially suggested renaming the mountain Mt. Kawukum, and later, Mt. Yahweh. Other renaming suggestions by other individuals included Mount Miwok and Mount Ohlone, after local Indian tribal names. Eventually, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names rejected the petitions, saying there was no compelling reason to change the name.

Information from the Mount Diablo Interpretative Association ( suggests that Kawukum, rather than representing an original Indian name for the mountain, may instead have originated in an early 20th century land developer's gimmick. However, other Indian names for the mountain may exist, including Tuyshtak (Ohlone/Costanoan), 'Oj-ompil-e (Northern Miwok), Supemenenu (Southern Miwok), and Sukku Jaman (Nisenan/Southern Maidu).

Additional information on prior names for Mount Diablo is found at the organization Save Mount Diablo ( "About 25 independent tribal groups with well-defined territories lived in the surrounding East Bay countryside. Their members spoke dialects of three distinct languages: Ohlone, Bay Miwok, and Northern Valley Yokuts... Most of Mount Diablo, including its peak, was within the homeland of the early Volvon, a Bay Miwok-speaking group, and as early as 1811, the mountain was called [in Spanish] Cerro Alto de los Bolbones (High Point of the Volvon)... Chochenko (Ohlone) speakers from the Mission San Jose area called the mountain Tuyshtak, meaning 'at the day'. The Nisenan of the Sacramento Valley called it Sukkú jaman, or as Nisenan elder Dalbert Castro once explained, 'the place where dogs came from in trade'."

Many local groups associated with the mountain use the Ohlone name Tuyshtak (translation "at the day") as an alternative name for Mount Diablo. Although less frequently used, the Miwok name 'Oj-ompil-e (or Ojompile, pronounced OJ-om-PEE-lay [?], translation "??") would perhaps be the most fitting renaming option, as available evidence suggests that the Volvon tribal group, likely speaking a dialect of the Miwok language group, was the group most closely associated with the mountain peak. However, formally renaming the mountain to an original Indian name appears currently unlikely.  Jose Ramirez Construction


The Challenge: The Mount Diablo Challenge is a 10.8 mile timed bike ride, starting at Athenian School in Danville and climbing up Southgate Road 3,249 feet to the summit of Mount Diablo. 1,000 cycling enthusiasts compete. All proceeds benefit Save Mount Diablo’s land conservation efforts. Start at the Athenian School, 2100 Mount Diablo Scenic Boulevard, Danville

Mt. Diablo Challenge bike ride



View SW across the park from near the summit of Mt. Diablo

The mountain is the result of geologic compression and uplift caused by the movements of the earth's plates. The mountain lies between converging earthquake faults and continues to grow slowly. While the principal faults in the region are of the slip-strike type, a significant thrust fault is found on the mountain's southwest flank. The uplift and subsequent weathering and erosion have exposed ancient oceanic Jurassic and Cretaceous age rocks that now form the summit. The mountain grows from 3 to 5 mm each year. 

Mt. Diablo is a double pyramid and resembles but is not a volcano. Here is a summary of its geology by local resident Cleet Carlton: Mt. Diablo is a geologic anomaly located approximately 30 miles east of San Francisco. The upper portion of the Mountain is made up of volcanic and sedimentary deposits of what once was one or more Island Arcs of the Pacific Plate dating back to the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods, between 190 and 90 Million Years ago. During this time, the Pacific Plate was subducting beneath the North American Continent and these deposits were scraped off the top and accreted onto the North American Plate. This resulted in the highly distorted and fractured Basalt and Serpentine of the Mt. Diablo Ophiolite and Metasediments of the Franciscan Complex around the summit. East of the subduction zone, a basin was filling with sediment from the ancestral Sierra further to the east. Up to 60,000 feet (18,000 meters) of Sandstone, Mudstone, and Limestone of the Great Valley Sequence were deposited from 150 to 66 Million Years ago. These deposits are now found faulted against the Ophiolite and Franciscan deposits. Over the past 20 Million Years, continental deposits have been periodically laid down and subsequently jostled around by the newly-formed San Andreas Fault system, forming the Coast Ranges. Within the last 4 Million Years, local faulting has resulted in compression, folding, buckling, and erosion, bringing the various formations into their current juxtaposition. This faulting action is ongoing and will continue to change shape of Mt. Diablo, along with the rest of the Coast Ranges.

The summit area of Mt. Diablo is made up of deposits of gray sandstone (graywacke), chert, oceanic volcanic basalts (greenstone) and a minor amount of shale. The hard red Franciscan chert is sedimentary in origin and rich in microscopic radiolarian fossils. In the western foothills of the mountain there are large deposits of younger sandstone rocks rich in seashells, severely tilted and in places forming dramatic ridgelines.   J.R. Construction Construction

There are deposits of glassmaking-grade sand and lower-quality coal to the north of the mountain, which were formerly mined in the 1800s and early 1900s, but are now open to visitors as the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. Guided tours of sand and coal mines are provided here.


The park's vegetation is mixed oak woodland and savannah and open grassland with extensive areas of chaparral and a number of endemic plant species, such as the Mt. Diablo manzanita (Arctostaphylos auriculata), Mt. Diablo globe lily (Calochortus pulcellus) and Diablo sunflower (Helianthella castanea). The park includes substantial thickets, isolated examples, and mixed ground cover of western poison-oak. It is best to learn to the characteristics of this shrub and its toxin before hiking on narrow trails through brush and to be aware that it can be bare of leaves (but toxic to contact) in the winter.

At higher altitudes there are stands of Knobcone pine, Foothill pine, and Coulter pine (for which the park and nearby Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve mark the northern extreme of the range).

In 2005, the Mount Diablo buckwheat (Eriogonum truncatum), thought to be extinct since last seen in 1936, was rediscovered in a remote area of the mountain


Commonly seen animals include coyote, bobcat, Black-tailed Deer, California Ground Squirrels, Fox Squirrels and Grey Foxes; many other mammals including Mountain lions are present. It is a chief remaining refuge for the threatened Alameda  Whipsnake, California red-legged frog. Less common wildlife species include the reintroduced peregrine falcon, ringtail cats, and to the east American badgers, San Joaquin kit fox, roadrunners, California tiger salamander, and burrowing owls. There are also exotic (non-native) animals such as the Red Fox and Opossum, the latter being North America's only marsupial.

In September and October you may encounter the male Tarantula spider (fearsome in appearance but harmless if undisturbed) as he seeks a mate. More dangerous are black widow spiders, far less likely to be encountered in the open.

Of special note as a potential hazard is the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake. While generally shy and non-threatening, one should be observant and cautious of where one steps to avoid accidentally disturbing one. They are often found warming themselves in the open (as on trails and ledges) on cool, sunny days.

There has also been an increase in the mountain lion population in the larger region and one should know how to respond to these animals if encountered. Please see the mountain lion safety tips in the Mountain lion article. One should avoid ground and brush contact to avoid fleas and ticks and the various diseases that they may transmit.

Mosquitos have always been somewhat hazardous in this area as they have been known to carry western equine encephalitis, caused by a virus dangerous to humans. With the recent spread into the counties around Mount Diablo of the recently introduced West Nile virus, mosquitos are now far more hazardous, as this debilitating and sometimes fatal disease is carried by (and can be fatal to) bird populations. Mosquitos are particularly active for about two hours after sunset and can be present in large numbers near creeks and during spring and fall wet seasons and after the rare summer rainfalls. Insect repellant containing the chemical DEET is recommended.

Summit building, Mt. Diablo

Gatehouses are located at the end of Northgate Road (in Walnut Creek and Diablo Road (in Danville). The Danville entrance is also known as Southgate. If the gatehouses are not operating, the park fees may be paid at the junction ranger station, where the two roads join.

From here the road reaches the summit of the mountain, where there is an observation building with a visitor's center with natural history exhibits (presently closed due to California's budget constraints, but the roof viewpont remains accessible). On busy days it is advisable to park at the large parking lot near the summit and take a short walk up to the summit. At this lot you may encounter hang gliders ready for launch. There is also a restroom here and at the summit.

From the elevation of the lower lot there is also a level wheelchair-accessible trail with interpretive stations that extends part way around the mountain. There are numerous hiking trails and some paths available for mountain biking and horse riding.

Camping facilities are available within the park. There are numerous picnic sites. Pets are restricted and require proper documentation for rabies (not just a tag). Daytime visitors must exit the park by sunset except for special events. Some picnic spots may be reserved but most are available without reservation.

Alcohol is strictly forbidden in the park. Fires are allowed only during the wet season (generally December through April), and only in sanctioned fire pits. The park may be closed on windy days during the dry season due to extremely hazardous fire conditions.

Two additional entrances with parking for hikers are provided on the northwest side of the park at Mitchell Canyon and Donner Canyon. Mitchell Canyon provides easy access to Black Point and Eagle Peak. Donner Canyon provides hikers access to Eagle Peak, Mount Olympia, North Peak, and the popular Falls Trail, which features several seasonal waterfalls

On December 7 of each year the aircraft beacon atop the summit building is illuminated from sunset to dawn. A ceremony memorializing the attack on Pearl Harbor on this day in 1941 is held at the summit, with some of the few remaining survivors present. The public is welcome and visitors on this day should enter the park before 4:30 PM. Visitors may leave later than usual — this is one of the few opportunities to view the sunset from the peak, weather permitting, without an overnight stay. More interesting than the sunset itself is the view of the progression of the mountain's shadow across the California Central Valley to the distant Sierra Nevada, finally appearing for a few moments above the horizon as a shadow in the post-sunset sky glow. In April of 1946, an Army C-45 transport plane crash on the north side of the mountain, killing the two crew members aboard. 'Save Mount Diablo' sponsors spring and fall schedules of events on the mountain, Spring on Diablo and Autumn on Diablo, as well as many other special events such as its anniversary event Moonlight on the Mountain; Four Days Diablo, a trip on the Diablo Trail; the Mt. Diablo Challenge, a 1000 cyclist hill climb to the summit; and the Mt. Diablo Trail Adventure, combined 10k and half-marathon hikes and runs.

Occasionally there will be public access to astronomical observations made by a local astronomy club. This club has been allocated a small parcel on the mountain and is developing a permanent observatory at this location. The instrument to be installed will have digital-imaging capabilities and visitors will be able to take home an astronomical image that they may display on their home computer system.



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