Mt Diablo South Gate to the Summit

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

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Going up Mt Diablo is one of my favorite local rides in the Bay Area! For today, I’m heading up South Gate Rd to the Junction Ranger Station and to the summit.

I take the city streets of Martinez and hop onto the Canal Trail off Taylor Blvd.

From the Canal Trail, I continue on the Iron Horse Trail into Walnut Creek and exit the trail onto the flats along Danville Blvd to Stone Valley Rd. Oak Hill Park is a great place to stop for restrooms and water before the long climb up Diablo.

Diablo Rd is a two lane road with no shoulder-taking the mulit-use path helps avoid the busy traffic and is an easier transition into the private Diablo Country Club. There are two friendly reminder signs for all cyclists entering the area to “please obey stop signs and to respect quiet morning hours for residents and golfers on the course”.

Riding through the Country Club is a beautiful detour to Mount Diablo; you get to see the huge estate homes with their well-manicured lawns. It’s mid-October, so there are a few homes already decorated with ghosts, ghouls and witches-all in anticipation for Halloween!

The dirt path off Alameda Diablo leads to the “hole in the fence” onto Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd to the South Gate Entrance. From this point, the climb to the Junction Ranger Station is 5.7 miles with an average grade of 5%.

South Gate Rd winds along the NE edge of the dense chaparral covered mountain with gorgeous views of the valley below! The road levels out a bit as you round the last curve up to the South Gate kiosk. If you need water, there is a fountain located next to the small parking area.

From the kiosk, it’s 3.1 miles to the Junction Ranger Station. The road descends under the shade towards Rock City and quickly tilts up for the climb up to Curry Point. The road exits from under the trees and opens up along the ridge with fabulous views of the upper and lower slopes of the mountain! The last half mile up to the junction has grades of 7-9% with steeper pitches of 10-11%.

Summit Rd to the summit is 4.5 miles long with an average grade of 7%. On this road, you’ll see the aftermath of the Morgan Fire; from the deep scorched slopes to the bare burnt out pines! This Bay Area treasure is fully exposed-you can see every contour of this majestic mountain!

The section of road between Blue Oak and Oak Knoll picnic areas has steep grades of 9-11%, it eases up a bit as you make your way up to Juniper.

From Juniper, the climb up towards Devil’s Elbow is at a steady 7-8% grade.

From Devil’s Elbow, the road eases up to lesser grades of 4-5% up to the lower parking lot. The short climb up “the wall” has steep grades of 13-18%! Enjoy the spectacular views from the summit!

I descend Summit Rd and continue down North Gate Rd to Heather Farms. The return home from Heather Farms is a comfortable 8 flat miles on the Iron Horse and Canal Trails.

Going up Mount Diablo via South Gate Rd is always a nice change of scenery! You always have the option of going up to the summit or cutting the ride short and head down North Gate for a post ride stop at Peet’s!

Garmin Stats:
50 miles with 4774′ of elevation gain (12 M gained from riding to HF from home)
Max elevation: 3843′
Max grade: 18%
Terrain: Extremely Hilly

Weather: Fantastic! Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to the mid 80’s. Mild N winds with 32% humidity

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If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.

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Click here to view the interactive route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride (ride/finish start from Heather Farm):

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2 Comments

  1. Nice chronicle. Thought you would show some aftermath of the fire. BTW When it is convenient … how to get to HF on streets? Thanks.

    Crazy Legs

    Tony, Thanks! Nancy

    Like

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