Mt. Diablo doesn't get snow every year, and it looks like this year we'll see it covered in snow from multiple storms. After last weeks hike to see the falls in Mt. Diablo State Park, we decided to visit again, and entered the park via the Mitchell Canyon staging area.
Trails Taken - From the trailhead, we took Oak Road to Mitchell Rock Trail. Then, we went right on Mitchell Rock trail and climbed to Twin Peaks, at 1733 feet. We descended a little and came to the Eagle Peak Trail split. We took the trail to the left, which descended down to Coulter Pine Trail. At this point, you could take the Coulter Pine Trail back to Oak Road and the Trailhead, but we continued on to Bruce Lee Road. We took a left on Murchio Road, and another left on Watertower Road. That connected us to Oak Road, which we took to the Trailhead.
Mileage - 4.1 miles, total ascent 1757'
Trailhead - South end of Mitchell Canyon Road in Clayton, California. Bathrooms and Interpretive Center located here as well. Entrance fee required.
Notes and Impressions - At the time of this hike, the trails were quite wet and muddy. In addtion, there is equestrian traffic on some of the main trails, so be careful for horse bombs.
I noticed quite a lot of bird activity on this hike, especially Jays. They seemed to be the lookouts on the trail, letting the other creatures know we were on our way. We saw some skittish rabbits and a load of raptors.
Often, the trails narrowed with heavy brush on both sides, and in some cases, overhead. Trail conditions ranged from rocky, to muddy, to steep.
As we climbed, the trails became narrow. You won't need ropes to pull yourself up, but you will feel it in your cheeks and legs.
That giant scar across the face of Zion Peak is explained on the MDIA website:
The diabase quarries on the northside of the mountain (Zion Peak) are currently being excavated for crushed rock and rip rap material. There were several excavations in graywacke on the northside of the mountain for the same purposes, but they are now abandoned. Blue schist from the Franciscan rocks on Mt. Diablo yielded good dimension stone and was popular for building construction due to its color.
Overall, a pleasant and moderatly difficult hike that offers great views and exercise.
Official State of California Map (Does not have all the trails from this hike)
MDIA Mt. Diablo Map (Order Form)