Mt Diablo: South Gate-Junction Ranger Station

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

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It’s been fairly cold in the mornings so I opt for a late start for a solo ride up Mt Diablo on South Gate Rd to the Junction Ranger Station. The plan is to work out some soreness in my legs from yesterdays’ workout at the gym by simply getting into my lowest gear and spinning my way up the mountain. I’m not even sure if that makes any sense but off I go!

I make my way through the city streets of Martinez and hop onto the Contra Costa Canal Trail off Taylor Blvd.

The leisurely flat jaunt along the Canal Trail and Iron Horse Trail is a stress-free way to get into Walnut Creek without having to deal with a lot of traffic. 

The flats along Danville Blvd from Alamo lead me up to the turn onto Stone Valley Way towards Oak Hill Park and Monte Vista High School in Danville.

Taking the Multi-use path at the corner of Green Valley Rd and Diablo Rd is a wonderful way to avoid the busy traffic along Diablo Rd. From the path, I take Calle Arroyo and ride through the well-manicured estate homes and greens around Diablo Country Club. The dirt path off Alameda Diablo to the “hole in the fence” is a shortcut onto Mt Diablo Scenic Blvd.

From the South Gate Entrance, the climb up to the Junction Ranger Station is 5.7 miles with an average grade of 5%.

South Gate Rd weaves around the chaparral covered mountain with spectacular valley views. I always like to look behind my shoulders to see the winding road from behind-WOW!


The road continues snaking its way up the side of the mountain and levels out when you round the curve to the South Gate Entrance Station. If you need water, there’s a fountain located next to the small parking area.


From the kiosk, it’s 3.1 miles up to the Junction Ranger Station. South Gate Rd descends under a canopy of trees towards the sandstone formations at Rock City. 

The road continues to drop down pass the picnic areas surrounding Rock City before tilting up again for the climb up to Curry Point.

The climbing continues and makes its way in and out of the woods to the open ridge line with phenomenal views of the expansive grasslands along the upper slopes to the summit above and the fantastic valley views below.

The last half mile up to the Junction Ranger Station has grades of 7-9% with steeper pitches of 10-11%!

spectacular views

spectacular views

I descend North Gate Rd and exit through the North Gate Entrance Station.

North Gate Rd leads me out around the residential neighborhoods on Walnut Ave, Los Lomas and San Carlos Dr to Heather Farm Park.

From the park, it’s an easy 4.5 miles on the Canal Trail to Taylor Blvd and Morello Ave. Along the trail, there are some fragrant and beautiful white cherry blossoms hanging over from the neighborhood fences.

I return home on Morello to Vine Hill and make my way up and over Hwy 4 on Glacier Dr. The cherry blossoms along Arnold Dr are magnificent!

I never tire of going up Mt Diablo; it’s one of my favorite rides! I have to remind myself to go up the south side more often; the views are simply awesome!

Garmin Stats:
45.60 Miles with 3091′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2168′
Max grade: 11%
Terrain: Hilly

Weather: Overcast and cool with some sun. Temps ranged from the high 40’s to the mid 50’s with NW winds.

Go, there is beauty in the mountains.

Click here to view the interactive route map & profile


Follow this route for today’s ride:

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