Tuesday, May 5, 2015
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There are over 150 miles of hiking trails and fire roads within Mount Diablo State Park. Hiking is a great way to explore the park’s backcountry. This loop follows Wall Point Road to its junction with the Summit Trail, which is followed in turn up to the Barbecue Terrace Trail. This trail takes you to the Barbecue Terrace Road which descends into Pine Canyon and eventually joins Stage Road. The hike is not difficult, but roads get gummy in wet weather. Rolling meadow lands, oak savannas, fine views of the main peak, hogbacks and sandstone fantasy, riparian habitat and great birding – this pleasant day hike has everything. Watch for signs of recent fire activity, both prescribed and wild. (http://www.mdia.org/site/park-information/activities/hiking/ten-demanding-hikes)
Begin this ride from Macedo Ranch Staging Area.
Enter trail gate onto Wall Point Rd. The road gently rounds the hill towards Pine Ridge with some floral displays of mayweeds, purple vetches, lupines and mustards.
Mile 0.4-at Briones Diabo Trail/Wall Point Rd junction: turn right to stay on Wall Point Rd. The mustard lined road continues upwards around the golden hills to Pine Ridge with fabulous views of Mt Diablo’s main peak.
Mile 0.8-at Dusty Rd/Wall Point Rd junction: turn right to stay on Wall Point Rd. The broad fire road climbs up through the woodlands out to the open ridge with views of the rocky stone formations and the mountain’s main peak.
Enjoy the wildflowers!
Mile 1.2-at Emmons Canyon /Wall Point Rd junction: turn left to stay on Wall Point Rd. The fire road runs along the ridge line with views of the mountain’s hogbacks and chaparral covered slopes.
Gorgeous rock formations!
Enjoy the spectacular valley views!
Mile 2.6-at Secret Trail/Wall Point Rd junction: go straight to stay on Wall Point Rd. The road continues winding along the ridge with fabulous views of the sandstone outcroppings and wall formations.
Mile 3.2-at Ridgeview Trail/Wall Point Rd junction: go straight to stay on Wall Point Rd. The road snakes along the ridge with stunning views of Rock City’s rock formations and Sentinel Rock.
Enjoy the white and yellow Mariposa lilies and redbud! The wildflowers add a wonderful pop of color amid the dry landscape.
Mile 3.7-at Rock City Trail/Summit Trail junction: go straight onto Summit Trail.
Mile 3.8-at Summit Trail/Staircase Trail junction: turn left and continue on Staircase Trail. The steps lead up to the interpretive trail panel about the layer of fossils under the thick sandstone bed. these sedimentary rocks are estimated to be 45 million years old-WOW! The trail continues on a single track through the dense chaparral covered slope to Summit Trail.
Turn around and enjoy the fantastic views!
Mile 4.0-at Summit Trail/Staircase Trail junction: turn left and continue on Summit Trail. The trail cuts through the woodlands out to the open grasslands.
At the next trail post-go straight to stay on Summit Trail. The trail crosses the meadow to the next interpretive trail panel about the Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary. The rocks from these different periods range from 50-75 million years old!
Mile 4.2-at the Ridgeview Trail/Summit Trail junction: go straight to stay on Summit Trail.
Mile 4.3-at Summit Trail/Trail Through Time junction: exit trail and turn left onto South Gate Rd. Hike along the side of the main road to Wildcat Trail and enjoy the stunning mountain and valley views!
Mile 4.4-at Wildcat Trail junction: turn left onto Wildcat Trail. The single track trail cuts through the broad meadows to Barbecue Terrace Rd.
Mile 4.5-at Wildcat Trail/Barbecue Terrace Rd junction: turn left onto Barbecue Terrace Rd towards the group picnic area.
Mile 4.6-go straight to Barbecue Terrace Horse & Group Camp-LUNCH STOP
Retrace steps back to Barbecue Terrace Rd. Enjoy the wildflowers!
Mile 4.7-at the Barbecue Terrace Rd junction: turn right to stay on Barbecue Terrace Rd. The road drops down the mountain slope through the open grasslands towards Pine Canyon.
Mile 5.5-at Barbecue Terrace Rd junction: go straight to stay on Barbecue Terrace Rd to Stage Rd. The road heads west through oak savannas along Pine Creek.
Mile 6.5-at Stage Rd junction: go left onto Stage Rd to Diablo Foothills. The fire road continues through Pine Canyon along Pine Creek with a couple of shallow creek crossings.
Enjoy the wildflowers!
Mile 7.0-at Dusty Rd/ Stage Rd junction: go right to stay on Stage Rd. The road follows the lush riparian habitat along Pine Canyon and Pine Creek to Pine Pond.
Mile 7.3-at Stage Rd junction: go straight to stay on Stage Rd to Diablo Foothills. The road continues through the canyon with several more creek crossings.
Mle 7.9-at Sunset Trail/Stage Rd junction: go straight to stay on Stage Rd to Diablo Foothills. The trail winds along the dense woodlands with a couple more creek crossings to the trail gate at the park boundary.
Look up and enjoy the beautiful sandstone formations at Castle Rock Recreation Area.
Mile 8.4-at trail gate/park boundary-go through gate into Diablo Foothills followed by a left turn at the unmarked road split to Little Yosemite Trail. Contine pass the picnic area.
Mile 8.5-go straight on Little Yosemite Trail. The narrow trail gently climbs up through oak woodlands with views of a small dry waterfall cascade area and a gorgeous sandstone wall.
Mile 8.6-at trail post: continue straight on Little Yosemite Trail. Exit the parkland and continue on a gentle ascent along the south side of the mountain to grassy foothills.
At the next trail gate: go straight to stay on Little Yosemite Trail. Continue across the grasslands with views of the rolling hills and the distant rock formations known as “China Wall”.
Mile 9.3-at Briones Mt Diablo Trail junction: turn left onto Briones Mt Diablo Trail. The trails winds around the mustard covered hills with scenic views of grazing cattle.
Mile 9.6-at Wall Point Rd/Briones Mt Diablo Trail junction: go straight onto Wall Point Rd to Macedo Ranch.
This gorgeous hike around the southwestern side of Mt Diablo offers a different perspective and view of the mountain. On Summit Trail along the Trail Thru Time section, you will be standing on the boundary between two major periods of geological history. The rocks to the north are 75 million years old from the cretaceous period. The rocks to the south are 50 million years old and from the Eocene Epoch of the Tertiary Period-WOW! The vertical beds of sandstone along Wall Ridge turned upward 90 degrees during the uplift of Mt Diablo! Stop and read all about it on the interpretive trail signs-it’s a great history lesson!
Wildflowers seen on the trails: mayweed, silver puffs, purple vetch, lupine, field mustard, blow-wives, ithuriel’s spear, winecup clarkia, rose clover, broadleaf filaree, blue dicks, yarrow, gumweed, spring vetch, morning glory, scarlet pimpernel, california blackberry, bird’s foot deerweed, california poppy, sweet yellow clover, bush monkeyflower, chamise, mariposa lily, yellow mariposa lily, indian paintbrush, purple owl’s clover, bellardia, sunflower, redbud, williamson clarkia, blue-eyed grass, golden monkleyflower, western verbena, california buckeye, chinese houses and western wallflower
*The use of a trail map is essential. The current edition “Mount Diablo Trail Map” is available for purchase at the park entrance stations, Summit Visitor Center and Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center in Mt. Diablo State Park. They are also available at REI and on-line at MDIA’s Store.
9.83 Miles with 2006′ of elevation gain
Time: 4.5 hours with a couple of stops
Hike: Moderately challenging
Weather: Sunny warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to the mid 70’s with brisk SW winds.
Parking: Macedo Ranch Staging Area, at the end of Green Valley Road. Green Valley Road may be reached from Stone Valley Road (Alamo) or Diablo Road (Danville). (Both are freeway 680 exits.) Water & restrooms available. Parking Fee-$6
*Bring plenty of water & food/snacks. Water & restrooms available at Barbeque Terrace Horse & Group Camp Area
No Dogs Allowed
View the interactive RGPS route map & profile