Mt Diablo: Emmons Canyon-Wall Point-Secret-Barbeque Terrace-Stage-Buckeye-Burma-Dusty Trail Hike

Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Mount Diablo State Park is one of the ecological treasures of the San Francisco Bay Area. Every season in the park has its special qualities. Discover them for yourself, from the mountain’s 3,849-foot summit to its beautiful wildflowers, extensive trail system, fascinating wildlife, and distinctive rock formations.*1 

This hike explores the southwestern portion of the park from Emmon Canyon up to Pine Ridge on Wall Point Rd. It crosses over the ridge with a descent on Secret Trail and Barbeque Terrace into Pine Canyon. The route continues uphill on Stage Rd and Buckeye Trail to Burma Trail followed by a drop back down into Pine Canyon. The return includes a moderate climb up Dusty Rd and Wall Point Rd to Emmons Canyon.

Begin this trail hike at the end of Emmons Canyon Dr in Alamo. Continue on Country Oak Lane towards the Emmons Canyon Trailhead.

Turn left onto the unmarked Emmons Canyon Rd, the fire road tilts up with a moderate climb through the shaded canyon woodland.

The trail exits the woodland as it continues uphill across the grassland to the junction at Wall Point Rd.

Go right onto Wall Point Rd, the fire road runs along the ridgeline with views of the mountain’s hogbacks and chaparral-covered slopes. East of Wall Point before reaching Secret Trail, you will be walking over vertical beds of sandstone of Eocene Age (45 million years old).*1

Enjoy the spectacular valley views!

Wall Point Rd continues uphill along the gorgeous ridge to the first high point at 1301 feet.

Enjoy the panoramic views!

The broad fire road levels out for a short section with grand views of Mt Diablo to the north and expanding valley views to the south.

Wall Point Rd kicks up with moderate rolling climbs as it heads eastwards along the ridge to Wall Point summit at 1604 feet.

Enjoy the beautiful rock formations and valley views!

At Secret Trail/Wall Point Rd junction, turn left onto Secret Trail. The single track cuts across the ridge and descends through chaparral-covered slopes and woodland into Pine Canyon.

Secret Trail comes to a T junction at Barbecue Terrace Rd.

Turn left onto Barbeque Terrace. The road heads west through oak savannas and rock outcroppings before exiting out to the grassland.

The Trail continues through the open canyon along Pine Creek with wonderful views of Pine Ridge and the open hillsides. The trail comes to an end at the Stage Rd junction.

Snack stop at Stage Rd junction.

Turn right onto Stage Rd, the trail winds uphill from Pine Canyon for half a mile with a moderate 440 feet climb to the next junction at Buckeye Trail.

Turn left onto Buckeye Trail, it turns westwards across the hillside followed by a dip down to a small seasonal creek crossing. The trail continues uphill across the grassland to the next trail post.

Go straight to stay on Buckeye Trail to Burma Rd, it cuts across the scenic rolling grasslands as it continues westward.

Buckeye Trail continues across the open hillside with wonderful views of Pine Ridge!

The trail leads out through the open meadows and rolling grassland to the next trail post.

Stay on Buckeye Trail, it roughly runs parallel to North Gate Rd for the next 0.3 mile.

At the trail split, go left onto Burma Trail, the gentle rolling fire road goes along the upper ridge with expanding views of the mountain and beyond!

Enjoy the glorious views!

At the next trail split, go left to stay on Burma Trail, it drops downhill to Pine Pond at Pine Canyon.

Burma Trail comes to a T junction at Stage Rd, turn left and continue through Pine Canyon and the lush riparian habitat along Pine Creek.

At Dusty Rd/Wall Point Rd junction, turn right. Dusty Rd tilts up with a moderate half-mile climb out from Pine Canyon through the oak woodland to the next trail junction.

Turn left at Wall Point Rd junction, the rolling trail travels southward towards Emmons Canyon.

Enjoy the magnificent views!

At the next trail junction, go straight onto Emmons Canyon Rd for the return to the trailhead.

You’ll enjoy this challenging hike on Wall Point Rd along Pine Ridge, the scenic roll along Pine Canyon and the gorgeous views all around!

Rolling meadowlands, oak savannas, fine views of the main peak, hogbacks and sandstone fantasy, riparian habitat and great birding – this pleasant day hike has everything! 

There is no potable water on these trails, and you should carry drinks with you. Many of the trails are narrow and may not have been recently cleared, and you may run across poison oak. If you think you are susceptible, it is best to protect your limbs with appropriate clothing. Such protection also comes in handy in keeping away ticks. And keep in mind that in summer the mountain gets pretty hot in the sun, so carry some headgear. In all other seasons, carry at least a light jacket to ward off chill winds which can arise suddenly.*1


This is an organized hike by the East Bay Casual Hiking Group 

8.07 miles with 2038′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1565′
Time: 3 hrs with one stop
Hike: Challenging
Parking: at the end of Emmons Canyon Rd in Alamo
No facilities-plan accordingly

Weather: Sunny and warm with some afternoon clouds. Mild temps ranging from the low 60’s to the mid 70’s with WNW winds.

*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 selected retail map distribution stores such as REI and on-line at MDIA’s Store.

Directions: Emmons Canyon Dr > S-Country Oak Ln > L-Emmons Canyon Rd > R-Wall Point Rd > L-Secret Tr > L-Barbeque Terrace Rd > R-Stage Rd > L Buckeye Tr > S-stay Buckeye Tr > L Burma Rd > L-Stage Rd > R-Dusty Rd > L-Wall Point Rd > S-Emmons Canyon Rd > R-Country Oak Ln > S-Emmons Canyon Dr

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile


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