Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

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Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

  • Location: Mount Diablo State Park, California
  • Distance: ~15 miles (loop)
  • Ascent:  1,578 feet
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Route: Mitchell Canyon ($6 parking fee) -> Mitchell Rock Tr -> Eagle Peak Tr -> Bald Ridge Tr -> North Peak Tr -> Summit -> Juniper Tr -> Deer Flat Rd -> Mitchell Canyon Rd.

After climbing Coyote Peak and being surrounded by such lovely wildflowers, I realized that I had a very short period of time to enjoy that on one of the Bay Area’s largest mountains, Diablo Peak in the East Bay. On a whim one morning, I left home at 6am to climb Diablo while it was still green. And green it was.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

But, hoo-boy, it was also super, super tough.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

I parked at Mitchell Canyon, and decided to take the route that took me through Eagle Peak and Twin Peaks on the way to the main summit.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

The morning chill wore off quickly, but it was awhile before I stopped hearing the incessant beeping of trucks at the nearby quarry, seen above.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

At Eagle Peak, I took a break for a snack and to dry my poor sweat soaked shirt.

Honestly, I hated the trails here. Past Eagle Peak, the trail descended into brambles. My arms were scratched up since the brambles encroached onto the trail. Lots of poison oak. The trails also seemed to take weird routes at times, going up and down (sometimes quite steeply) which annoyed my knees.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

But at least there was an impressive display of wildflowers. March/April is a perfect time to climb Mount Diablo.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

You can still see that quarry from before, to give you an idea of how far I’ve come by this point.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

The peak taunted me, as the trail wrapped around the south. So close, yet so far.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

On the other side of the mountain (facing East), gorgeous green hills. Won’t stay that way for long…

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

(Click for full size.)

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

Finally — the summit! Or getting closer to it, at least. I was grumpy at this point, as this hike was a lot harder/longer than anticipated. That’s what I get for doing this on a whim!

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

The worst (or maybe best, depending on your perspective) part about hiking Diablo is reaching the peak and all these lovely people are strutting around in their sundresses, having driven straight up to the summit.

Kidding aside, I was very tempted to ask for a ride back down the mountain.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

The lovely top! Was quite windy.

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

And there is a little museum inside!

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

Peak Bagging: Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park, California

Seriously though. Phew.

I decided to take a fire road back down to avoid the brambles and the ups/downs I encountered on the way up. There, I got to add another entry on my almost-kicked-the-bucket list: got attacked by a rattle-snake! I never heard any rattling, was prancing downhill when I saw some movement in front/left of me, and I only had enough time to see that it was a rattler curled up before it lunged at me. Trust me, there was plentiful shrieking as I skedaddled backwards as fast as possible. It missed, and cruised off on its merry way — at least five feet long. Jesus. I was paranoid for the rest of the hike downwards.

Overall, fun — glad I did it, probably won’t do it again (or at least, until my irrational fear of rattlesnakes and annoyance at brambles dissipates!)