Monday, March 08, 2010

Mt Diablo State Park

Mt Diablo State Park
Mt Diablo State Park is a popular summer day trip from San Francisco. Most visitors attempt to climb 3,864 feet to the summit of Mt Diablo. Those that make it are rewarded by one of the most spectacular views in the golden state. The vista from the top includes the Golden Gate Bridge and with binoculars, even Yosemite's Half Dome can be spotted. Activities at the park include hiking, camping and rock climbing. Mt Diablo State Park Campground is divided up into three areas:

Juniper Campground 36 campsites. Located approximately 2 miles below the summit on Summit Road, Juniper is known for its views. Reservations.

- Live Oak Campground 22 campsites. Located one mile above the Southgate entrance Station, off Southgate Road. Live Oak is near Rock City. At Rock City one can explore interesting rock formations. Reservations.

- Junction Campground 6 campsites. Located where Southgate and Northgate meet at the Ranger Station. This campground is situated in an open woodland area. Campsites are first come first served.

Mt Diablo State Park Hiking trails:
Mary Bowerman Trail
Just below the summit, this trail offers spectacular vistas that can be enjoyed along the way. The first half of the gentle 0.7-mile loop trail is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. Pick up a copy of the trail Nature Guide at the trailhead.
Rock City
You'll find unusually large sandstone formations and small caves here.
Boy Scout Rocks and Sentinel Rock
These are popular places near Rock City for rock climbing. Check with the ranger for regulations and the best approach.
Fossil Ridge
Evidence of previous residents is embedded in these rocks. Please leave them for future visitors to see.
Deer Flat
You are likely to see some of the mountain's natural wildlife as you take this moderately strenuous 1.6-mile hike from Juniper Camp.
Mitchell Canyon Staging Area
This is the main access point to trails on the mountain's north side. From here you can hike to Deer Flat (3.7 miles) or all the way to the summit (6.8 miles) by way of Juniper Camp.
Diablo Valley Overlook
From here near Juniper Campground, 3,200 feet above sea level, you can see the Golden Gate.
Summit Museum - Open Daily 10:00am - 4:00pm
The summit museum is located in the historic stone building atop Mt. Diablo's highest peak. The tower was constructed during the late 1930's of fossiliferous sandstone blocks quarried in the park. The Visitor Center highlights the cultural and natural history of Mt. Diablo State Park. Visit the Mitchell Canyon Information Center on the north side of the mountain. Exhibits
Impressive exhibits chronicle the history of the mountain and capture its majesty. A rock wall with instructional video examines the geological forces which created the mountain. Panels describe the native American history of the region. A diorama, complete with native sounds, offers an overview of the park's ecosystems. A model of the mountain acquaints visitors with important park locations. Splendid photographs enhance the visitor's experience. In addition to the exhibits, the summit museum features a gift shop and audio-visual room.
Art Gallery
Rotating displays of the fine interpretive art by local artists and photographers complement the permanent exhibits.
Observation Deck
Telescopes are mounted on the deck to help visitors enjoy one of the finest views in the world. On the walk up the circular stairway to the observation deck, visitors are treated to a look at ancient marine fossils embedded in the sandstone walls of the summit building. In the rotunda they are reminded of Mt. Diablo's importance as a survey point. Above the rotunda is a beacon, historically important to aviators and now lighted once a year on December 7 in memory of those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor.
Mitchell Canyon Interpretive Center
The Mitchell Canyon Interpretive Center, located in Mount Diablo State Park at the south end of Mitchell Canyon Road in Clayton, California, is staffed by park volunteers. The gift shop is supported by the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association, which works with the park to provide visitors with information so they can better enjoy Mount Diablo State Park and its natural wonders.

The Center has displays about various aspects of Mt. Diablo State Park, such as geology, wildlife, trails, and plant life. Interpretive materials about the Park, such as geology, wildlife, and plants, are for sale. There are also postcards, note cards, trail maps, and water for sale.