Mount Diablo: Mount Olympia Hike

Thursday, April 16, 2015

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Mt. Olympia is one of the park’s prime destinations, a rugged outcrop with fantastic views of dizzying canyons.This is arguably the steepest trail in the park. The first part is gentle enough, but things get a lot more challenging when you get to the flanks of Mt. Olympia – the total rise occurs in a little over a mile. There are many things to attract your attention on the way and to let you catch your breath – wildflowers well into summer, grotesquely eroded rock formations reminiscent of the American Southwest, the sequence of gradually expanding views. The climax view, of course, is from the summit itself. (http://www.mdia.org/site/park-information/activities/hiking/ten-demanding-hikes)

This hike climbs up 2.6 miles on the steep and narrow hiker-only Mt Olympia Trail to the summit of Mt Olympia from Marsh Creek Rd. Mt Olympia peak stands at 2946′ to the northeast of North Peak at Mt Diablo State Park.

Begin this hike from the wide pull-out on right side of Marsh Creek Road about 1.3 miles beyond Regency Drive in Clayton. There is an emergency call box with a big blue sign-CC M 16.

Enter through the unmarked park gate onto the unsigned road to the trail junction.

At Marsh Trail/Sharkey Rd junction: go straight and continue on Sharkey Rd; the road leads out to the open grasslands with views of the mountain peaks.

At the Wise Rd junction: go left on Wise Rd.

At the Olympia Trail junction: turn right onto Olympia Trail. Follow the narrow single track into the dense brush.

At the Olympia Trail sign: go straight and continue on the trail.

At the Olympia Trail sign: continue straight through the woodlands to the open grasslands.

At the Olympia Trail sign: go straight to the T junction and turn right to stay on the Olympia Trail. At the next trail sign-go straight to stay on the Olympia Trail. The trail heads south up along the foothill of the mountain.

At the Quarry Rd/Olympia Trail junction: go right to stay on Olympia Trail. The wide trail gently winds up the sparsely covered chaparral slopes to the next junction.

At the Wise Rd/Olympia Trail junction: go straight to stay on Olympia Trail. The trail narrows as it climbs through dense vegetation.

At the next Olympia Trail sign-go straight. The steep climb opens up to fabulous far distant NE views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.

The single track trail snakes in and out of the thick brush to the open hillside with an occasional views of the eastern hills and valleys.

The trail continues to traverse through dense vegetation and woodlands to the open slope.

At the East Trail/Olympia Trail junction: go left onto East Trail. The trail continues to traverse along the mountain slopes on rocky open terrain into the dense brush.

Check out the wildflowers!

East Trail continues climbing under the shaded woodlands and chaparral slopes.

The trail exits the dense brush area onto the open ridge with close proximity and views of the large rugged rock outcroppings.

The trail continues winding up along the mountain side towards the upper ridge.

More wildflowers!

The trail weaves underneath the pines woodlands with the occasional glimpse of the valleys and mountains.

More wildflowers:

East Trail climbs out of the dense brush to the rocky ridge with fabulous open vistas!

Beautiful California poppies line the way up the ridge.

Enjoy the ridge top views and rugged eroded rock formations and outcroppings!

The rocky trail goes pass a scattering of lone pines to the next junction.

At the Zippe Trail/East Trail junction: go straight to stay on East Trail and continue up along the open ridge.

Turn around and check out the amazing views!

East Trail continues through the thick vegetation before exiting back out onto the open ridge.

At the East Trail sign: you can continue on the trail to the peak or opt as we did and scramble straight up the side of the mountain to the summit.

Arrive at Mt Olympia-2946′ elevation.

Enjoy the panoramic views!

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Descend the summit onto East Trail and retrace steps back down the mountain.

At Zippe Trail/East Trail junction: go straight to stay on East Trail.

At East Trail/Olympia Trail junction: stay on East Trail to Olympia Trail.

Stay on Olympia Trail. At Olympia Trail/Wise Rd junction: turn right onto Wise Rd followed by an immediate left onto Olympia Trail.

At Olympia Trail: turn left and follow the single track trail through the woodlands out to the open grasslands.

At the junction: turn left followed by another immediate left onto the unsigned Sharkey Rd.

Sharkey cuts across the grasslands back to the park gate on Marsh Creek Rd.

Wildflowers seen on the trails: blue dick, chinese house, white tipped clover, bush monkey flower, indian warrior, mule’s ears, wind poppy, royal larkspur, yarrow, silver lupine, winecup clarkia, california poppy, woodland star, pitcher sage, california buttercup, scarlet larkspur, douglas sandwort, true baby stars, blue eyed grass, sunflower, serrated onion, goldenbush, cobweb thistle, purple owl’s clover, poison oak, western wallflower, hartweg’s taushia, white nemophilia, false baby star, dandelion and ithuriel’s spear.

Get out and experience this hike with the calf-burning climb and quad-busting descent. The trails less traveled leads to one of the mountain’s hidden beauty spots-Mt Olympia! The peak top panoramas are both dramatic and phenomenal! Now is also the time to enjoy nature’s colorful display of wildflowers!

Stats:
5.2 Miles with 2064′ of elevation gain
Time: 3.5 hours with one stop
Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the high 60’s to the high 70’s with N winds.
Parking: No fee-Wide pull-out on right side of Marsh Creek Road about 1.3 miles beyond Regency Drive in Clayton. There is an emergency call box with a big blue sign-CC M 16-No facilities.
Hike: Extremely challenging with long steep stretches
*Bring plenty of water & food/snacks. No facilities/water on these trails.
No Dogs Allowed

Mt Olympia Hike-001

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One Comment

  1. Fantastic wildflowers! Really great panoramic views! Thanks, Nancy.

    Thanks Jim! I’m going to compile a list of wildflowers and post to the blog. Nancy

    Like

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