Over the weekend, my friend and I were in San Francisco for our significant others to run the Nike Women’s Marathon, the one where you get a Tiffany Necklace at the end. Since they were relaxing the day before the race, we decided to head out into the surrounding area and do some hiking. The area we chose was Mt Diablo State Park, and since Mt Diablo allows you to drive to the top, we drove up there then set off to hike North Peak.
- 5.2 miles
- 1,500 feet of elevation gain
- This post is from 2014
First off, the view from the summit of Mt Diablo is amazing. You can pretty much see forever up there. We walked around for a couple of minutes and took some pictures just to soak it all in. This is also where we saw North Peak, which we decided to climb. There is also a museum/visitor center up there as well, but it is only open from 10 – 4 PM but we were there at 8:30 AM, so we were not able to check that out.
After that, we proceeded about a half-mile down the road to the turn out that would take us around Mt Diablo, down to the saddle, then back up to North Peak. Just a note, this trail is not easy. There is a lot of going up and going down, which will take its toll on you.
This trail is beautiful in its stark contrasts though. First, it heads across the side of the mountain in an area that had fire damage this year and seems to be completely barren.
From there, it heads around the bend and starts the 600 feet of descent to the saddle.
This part of the path takes you through beautiful foliage and some small remaining trees, there were even a couple with fall colors, before dropping you at the saddle where you will realize that you still have a lot of uphill climbing to do.
After the saddle, the path follows the old fire road up to the summit, and it is not as impressive as the first segment. From here, you can also split off to climb Mt Olympia, which my friend did.
I headed up to North Peak, and right before I got to the top, I came to probably the steepest “road” I have ever walked on. I honestly have no idea how a car could drive up it. It is worse on the way down as well. After walking up the road, I was under the shadow of the radio towers, and that is where I sat to each my lunch.
This area is entertaining to explore as there is a lot to see, from beautiful views of Mt Diablo and the cities around it, to the massive radio towers.
After you are done, you head back down the road the way you came, with more uphills and downhill before getting back to your car. Or you can take the side journey to Mt Olympia.
The trail down to Mt Olympia is a decent hike, it’s not far but it’s straight down to a saddle and then straight up to the peak, then back the same way to the main trail. It covers plenty of elevation in a short hike, but the views from Mt Olympia are great, virtually unobstructed views north, east and west with views of the nearby bays, rivers, and cities. It was fantastic to have the peak all to myself and take in the scenery; this park is a real gem right outside of the big city.
Let me know if you have hiked here in the comments or if you recommend other places in the park.