Mount Diablo State Park

Summit Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94598, United States

Mount Diablo, in northern California, is a dominant topographic feature. It was established in 1851 as the initial point for land surveys spanning two-thirds of California and all of Nevada at the Mount Diablo Base Line and Meridian. The peak of the mountain boasts impressive panoramic views.

The elevation is in Mount Diablo State Park, an approximately 20,000-acre state park (8,000 ha). According to Save Mount Diablo, the park was the first public open space in a chain that now includes 38 preserves, including local city open spaces, regional parks, watersheds, buffered in some areas with private lands covered by conservation easements. Preserved lands covering more than 90,000 acres (36,000 ha) on and around Mount Diablo. The park’s day use fee per vehicle is by way of entry: $6 via Macedo Ranch (Danville) or Mitchell Canyon (Clayton), and $10 via South Gate Rd. (Danville) & North Gate Rd. (Walnut Creek) leading up Mount Diablo.

State Park adjoins East Bay Regional Park District parklands including Morgan Territory Regional Preservation, Brushy Peak Regional Preservation, Vasco Caves Regional Preservation, and Round Valley Regional Preservations. It also adjoins protected areas owned or managed by local communities such as the Borges Ranch Historic Property, the Concord Naval Weapons Station (now being converted to non-military use), the Indian Valley, Shell Ridge Open Space and Lime Ridge Open Spaces near Walnut Creek, and the Los Vaqueros Reservoir watershed east, the new Marsh Creek State Park, and Black Diamond Mines. In this way, the city-controlled open spaces, the East Bay Regional Park District, Mount Diablo State Park, and numerous regional preserves are now overlapping and preserving most of the mountain’s elevated regions, with notable exceptions in Arroyo del Cerro, Curry Canyon, the Marsh Creek area and on the northern slopes of North Top, and in a variety of protected land inholdings.

The dogs are only allowed in established park areas. During the day, they must be kept on a leash, and at night in an enclosed car or tent. Dogs are NOT permitted on trails, on fireplaces or in park buildings.

Most Mount Diablo tourists head straight towards the Summit to enjoy the popular view. Mount Diablo isn’t especially tall as mountains go-just 3.849 feet.  It is however surrounded by low, rolling hills and broad, flat valleys, so the Summit view is remarkable. You can see about 200 miles when conditions are best.  Often summer days are hazy, and the strongest visibility is always on the day after a winter storm. You can then look west, over the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Farallon Islands; south-east to the James Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton at 4,213 feet above sea level; south to Mount Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 3,791 feet above sea level, north to Mount Saint Helena in the Coast Range at 4,344 feet above sea level, and further north to Lassen Peak in the Cascades at 10,466 feet above sea level. In the east of the great central valley of California, the summit of the Sierra Nevada seems to be floating in a vacuum.  Altogether, from the Mount Diablo Dome, you can see over 8,539 square miles and portions of 40 of California’s 58 counties.

Mt. Diablo is a large park with stunning views of rolling hills. We climbed to the top, halfway up for a picnic. There are plenty of hiking trails and plenty of very fit bicycle riders on the route. If you want to go to a beautiful location near Oakland, highly recommended.

Image courtesy of Jeffreymendel Jeffrey Nash – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

This amazing landmark is located near the following must-see sights in Walnut Creek, California:

  • Lesher Center for the Arts
  • Lindsay Wildlife Museum 
  • Old Borges Ranch 
  • Ruth Bancroft Garden 
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
  • Shadelands Ranch Museum 
  • Walden Park Disc Golf Course 
  • Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society

All of these landmarks are located just a short distance from our location in downtown Walnut Creek, Spaulding Concrete on Locust Street.