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Walnut Creek Magazine

7 Stunning Routes on Mount Diablo for Winter Hikes

Jan 04, 2024 01:51PM ● By By Alexander Broom, Save Mount Diablo | Photography by Scott Hein

Embarking on a post-rain hike is a special experience—the air is crisp and clear; the soil and plants leave you rejuvenated. The best spots to visit right after the rain are generally above 1,000 feet, because the soils at this level drain much better than the clay soil at lower elevations. These seven stunning routes are perfect for wet weather, without ruining your shoes.


Mitchell Canyon to Black Point

If you’re looking for a great, moderately challenging hike, Black Point is one of Mount Diablo’s less visited peaks that drains well after the rain, so the trails are safe to traverse in wetter conditions. In the spring, this trail is populated with an assortment of rare flowers.


Mary Bowerman Trail

Kid-friendly, with some of the best views in the world, the Mary Bowerman Fire Interpretive Trail is an easy, mile-long loop at the top of Mount Diablo. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see about 200 miles out, making Half Dome and the Sierra Nevada visible from the summit.


Grand Loop

This popular hike provides a challenging and enriching six-mile trek throughout upper Mount Diablo. Expect to see gorgeous views of the Bay Area and numerous wildlife sightings on this trail.


Bike Mitchell Canyon to North Peak

During rainy season, it's difficult to find a good spot for mountain biking. Save Mount Diablo recommends biking along Mitchell Canyon Road to Mount Diablo’s summit, and then to North Peak. A challenging ride, you'll be on the mountain all day, experiencing views from different peaks. It’s also one of the best ways to get to the summit when roads are closed to cars due to snow.

Trail through Time

Beginning at Mount Diablo State Park’s southern boundary, this challenging trail takes hikers to the summit through numerous ancient rock formations. It’s a hike through millions of years of history, often called “a geologic storybook.” With 2,940 feet in elevation gain, try exploring the trail in sections starting at the summit, where the soil drains best and the views are one-of-a-kind.


Juniper to Summit Loop

Starting at Juniper Campground, this moderate hike is a great way to experience the oak and chaparral ecosystems of Mount Diablo that change as you travel higher up the mountain. On days when the summit road is closed because of the weather, this is a great way to access Mount Diablo’s summit on foot.


The Donner Canyon and Falls Loop

This iconic loop isn’t one to miss during the rainy season. After it rains, hikers can travel along cascading waterfalls and creeks, a rare sight in the Mount Diablo area. This one can get slippery and muddy, so prepare accordingly. Expect to cross a few creeks while admiring the beauty of Donner Canyon’s extraordinary waterfalls.

(Reposted with permission from Save Mount Diablo; Edited by Walnut Creek Magazine)

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