Rock City to the Summit

Danville, California

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2 Reviews
5 out of 5
Mount Diablo, the once sacred mountain of the Miwok Indians, continues to be sacred to today’s Bay Area hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and nature lovers. It is truly the pride of Contra Costa, its silhouette reproduced on local company logos and county stationery. Ask any longtime resident of the area and you’ll hear stories of summer camping in Juniper or picnicking near Sentinel Rock, taking a springtime Sunday drive up Mount Diablo Scenic Road, or sledding down sparkling white slopes after one of those rare and wonderful winter snowstorms. The state park and surrounding foothills offer much to see and do year-round. On this hike, you can watch rock climbers, scramble up a few boulders yourself, or search for ancient ocean fossils at Rock City; bird and butterfly watch and enjoy a hearty oak-laurel and gray pine forest on the Juniper Trail; identify wildflowers on the Summit Trail; barbecue at any of a number of picnic areas on the way up (there are fifty in the park); learn about Diablo and Contra Costa history, geology, and wildlife at the Summit Museum; and best of all, take in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and of the snow-crested Sierras from the observatory tower at the 3,849-foot peak (bring binoculars). Exploring Diablo makes for a great day, though be prepared with plenty of drinking water, layered clothing, a hat, and sunscreen. It can be very hot in summer, muddy in winter, and the temperature varies up the mountain. This eTrail also includes suggested nearby attractions, camping & lodging, restaurants, and local outdoor retailers.

Rock City to the Summit Professional Review and Guide

"Mount Diablo, the once sacred mountain of the Miwok Indians, continues to be sacred to today’s Bay Area hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and nature lovers. It is truly the pride of Contra Costa, its silhouette reproduced on local company logos and county stationery. Ask any longtime resident of the area and you’ll hear stories of summer camping in Juniper or picnicking near Sentinel Rock, taking a springtime Sunday drive up Mount Diablo Scenic Road, or sledding down sparkling white slopes after one of those rare and wonderful winter snowstorms. The state park and surrounding foothills offer much to see and do year-round. On this hike, you can watch rock climbers, scramble up a few boulders yourself, or search for ancient ocean fossils at Rock City; bird and butterfly watch and enjoy a hearty oak-laurel and gray pine forest on the Juniper Trail; identify wildflowers on the Summit Trail; barbecue at any of a number of picnic areas on the way up (there are fifty in the park); learn about Diablo and Contra Costa history, geology, and wildlife at the Summit Museum; and best of all, take in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and of the snow-crested Sierras from the observatory tower at the 3,849-foot peak (bring binoculars). Exploring Diablo makes for a great day, though be prepared with plenty of drinking water, layered clothing, a hat, and sunscreen. It can be very hot in summer, muddy in winter, and the temperature varies up the mountain. This eTrail also includes suggested nearby attractions, camping & lodging, restaurants, and local outdoor retailers."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Danville
Distance: 8.5
Elevation Gain: 1,750 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 4 hours
Season: Year-round, 8:00 a.m. to sunset
Trailhead Elevation: 1,600 feet
Top Elevation: 3,349 feet
Local Contacts: Mount Diablo State Park

Rock City to the Summit Reviews

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icon2 Total
4/9/2011
On one of the nicer days we've had so far in 2011, my hiking buddies and I decided to check out Rock City and some of the trails in Mount Diablo State Park. 1. Rock City Trail Through Time Wall Point Rd. Rock City was full of kids, who were seemingly enjoying the rocks. I've seen rocks. They were ok, for rocks. Trail Through Time led to some nice vistas, and we chose Wall Point Road in a successful attempt to evade crowds. After maybe half a mile on Wall Point Rd, we cut up a steep trail on the hill side. I think it called itself something Ridge Trail, but it's not listed on the basic map and it's not like I hike with a pencil and notebook or anything. Greeted with beautiful views up this slightly taxing climb. Pretty much just as good as from the summit, and much less crowded. We met up with Summit Trail there, then cut over to Curry Point for Phase 2. 2. Curry Canyon Rd Frog Pond Road backtrack cut though back to Rock City Less mountainy and more magical foresty. There was a creek to play in, some cows to say Hi to and only one other hiker the entire way. We were aiming for the Frog Pond but ran out of daylight. Also, note, lacking a topographical map you can't tell that the ponds are SEVERELY UP HILL. Why a pond is up a hill... I could not say. Seems strange to me. And alas, the golden rule of hiking prevails: What goes down, must come up. The nice downward-lilting trail is a nice upward hike on the way back. But such is nature. Overall great hikes! Will come back and check out some more.
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5/20/2007
We didn't do the loop through Rock City. It's a cool place, but it was packed and not part of the ascent to the summit, so we skipped it. The top elevation is actually over 3,800 feet. It's 3.7 miles on the Summit Trail to the top. It starts out pretty mellow, going up and down through some soft rolling hills, but then you're going up continuously for three miles. My glutes are sore today! There's not much shade, so I recommend starting in early morning. It was also really windy, but there was still some haze in the distance. Even so, there were great views the entire way and the wild flowers were abundant. It's not technically difficult at all, and I've done steeper hikes (Trainer Hill in Auburn, for example), but the constant upgrade is a killer. Coming down is a piece of cake, though. UPDATE: We did this hike again (3/30/08) and loved it even more. The wildflowers were spectacular. But the real treat were two coyotes were saw about 1 1/2 miles up. They weren't spooked by us so we got to spend some time watching them. We also saw a couple falcons and lots of parasailors, which was pretty cool. The views are amazing, but it was pretty chilly and foggy at the top. I would definitely recommend this hike.
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Jun 2018