Mount Diablo: South Gate to the Summit

Friday, August 8, 2014

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This ride goes through “the hole in the fence”; a scenic detour through the small private Diablo community around Diablo Country Club for the climb up South Gate Rd to the summit of Mt Diablo at 3849 feet.

The route begins from Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek to the Iron Horse and Canal Trails to S Broadway and Rudgear Rd. The flats along Danville Blvd leads us south to Alamo for the turn onto Stone Valley Rd. We continue on Green Valley Rd and take the multi-use path that parallels Diablo Rd; this takes you off the high traffic road heading east towards Blackhawk.

Calle Arroyo is a private road that goes along the Diablo estate homes around the golfing greens at Diablo Country Club. The turn onto Alameda Diablo leads us through the upscale neighborhood to the “hole in the fence”. To keep in harmony with bicyclists, the Diablo community has kindly posted signs along the road to remind cyclists to “obey the laws and respect the community”.  

The dirt path leads up to the open fence area onto Mt Diablo Scenic Dr to Mt Diablo State Park South Gate Entrance on South Gate Rd.

The climb on South Gate Rd to the Junction Ranger Station is 5.8 miles with an average grade of 4.6%. Enjoy the spectacular vistas as you wind your way up along the south side of the mountain!


South Gate Rd to the 1000′ elevation sign:

The road continues to snake its way up the side of the mountain:



South Gate Rd eases up to the South Gate Station:

The road levels out for a short section followed by a descent to Rock City:

Rock City climb to Curry Point:

Curry Point to the open ridge-enjoy the views!



Open ridge climb up to Junction Ranger Station:

Summit Rd up to Mt Diablo summit is 4.5 miles with an average grade of 7%.

Summit Rd to Livermore Valley Overlook:


Livermore Valley Overlook

Livermore Valley Overlook to Toyon Picnic Area:

Steep 9-11% climb from Toyon Picnic Area to Grapevine Picnic Area:

The road eases up from Grapevine Picnic Area to Juniper-Diablo Valley Overlook:


Juniper-Diablo Valley Overlook

Juniper to Devils Elbow:

Devils Elbow to summit lower parking lot:

Steep 13-17% climb up “the wall’ to Mt Diablo Summit:

Enjoy the summit views! One note: there was a swarm of dragonflies all around the upper parking lot.



Descend Summit Rd to North Gate Rd:

Return to Heather Farm on Walnut Ave and Las Lomas Way to San Carlos Dr.

I love climbing up Mt Diablo; it’s right in my backyard and easily accessible via the Canal and Iron Horse Trails from Martinez. You get to know every curve of the mountain and know what to expect; it’s like visiting an old friend with a warm smile. Reward yourself with a stop at the Ygnacio Plaza for coffee/tea/snack at Peet’s-it’s a great way to unwind after a fun day up the mountain!

WARNING: There is WATER SHORTAGE due to our current drought conditions. The water storage tanks at Diablo are close to empty. As of today, the water fountains at the South Gate Station, the Junction Ranger Station and at the Summit are flowing. But who knows what tomorrow will bring-plan accordingly and bring enough water with you.


Garmin Stats:
53.63 Miles with 4639′ of elevation gain with ride start from Martinez
38 miles with ~3900′ of elevation gain with ride start from Heather Farm

Max elevation: 3715′
Max grade: 17%
Terrain: Extremely hilly

Weather: Sunny and hot with temps ranging from the mid 60’s to the high 90’s. SW winds with 56% humidity.

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile


Follow this route for today’s ride from Heather Farm:


One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing. The Drought is so bad and it’s not surprising that they are rationing. thanks for the warning!

    Hi Rinaldi, hope all is going well with you. Email me-we should get together for a ride. nancy


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