Mount Diablo State Park is an amazing place that features a unique landscape filled with fossils, activities and Mount Diablo, as well as 64 campsites for RV and tent campers. Located on the eastern fringe of the San Francisco Bay Region, Mount Diablo State Park is situated just over five miles southeast from Walnut Creek, California. The 20,000-acre state park was founded in 1931 and boasts incredible scenery as well as panoramic views from the top of Mount Diablo, which towers 3,849 feet into the sky.
Mount Diablo itself is considered a spiritual place by some 25 Native American tribes in the East Bay Region of California including the Bay Miwok, Northern Valley Yokuts, and Ohlone. The mountain is revered in native mythology as the point of creation where the Coyote and Eagle-man formed the beginning of Native Americans. During the 1870s toll roads were opened to stagecoaches who ferried visitors to the top of Mount Diablo. Once on top of Mount Diablo the vistas are truly spectacular where you can view 40 of the 54 counties in California.
The unique landscape contains plenty of fossilized rock that has been tilted upside down. As you travel to the top, the ancient sandstone rocks actually become older because of this natural phenomenon. The elevation in the park ranges from 300 to 3,849 feet, which creates a wide variation of temperatures from the lower altitudes to higher altitudes.
Activities in the park are plentiful from simply nature viewing to hiking, biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. One of the more popular things to do in Mount Diablo State Park is to view the fossil remains from the ancient sea beds that are now visible throughout much of the park. This stunning landscape provides a perfect setting for a truly memorable RV getaway.
RV Rentals in Mount Diablo State Park
Transportation in Mount Diablo State Park
There are two main entrances to Mount Diablo State Park which are the North and South Gate Roads. North Gate Road allows for access to the park for travelers coming via Walnut Creek. as well as nearby Clayton. South Gate Road is accessed from Mount Diablo Road just northeast of the town of Danville. Once inside the park driving can be challenging for all drivers with numerous hairpin turns and steep inclines. Visitors can expect a slow drive with numerous advisories for blind curves and drivers cutting corners. The Mount Diablo Scenic Highway is closed to all vehicles over 20 feet in length and visitors pulling trailers cannot make the drive to the top of the mountain.
Driving challenges are compounded by a number of bicyclists and hikers that occupy the roads throughout the park. Drivers along the North Gate Road to the Junction Ranger Station will find switchback and more than twelve blind curves to maneuver. Along the South Gate Road to the Junction Ranger Station, drivers experience a steep road with more than fifteen blind curves. The two roads converge at the Junction Ranger Station. The Summit Road from the Junction Ranger Station takes visitors to the top of Mount Diablo by navigating nine blind curves and is the steepest part to drive.
Since there are so many mountainous, narrow, and curvy roads in this park, it might be easiest to park your rig at the campground and explore on foot, bike, or even horseback. There are tons of trails to explore all over the park. Pick up a park map at the Visitor Center or print it out from the park's website.
Campgrounds and parking in Mount Diablo State Park
Campsites in Mount Diablo State Park
The Juniper campground has 36 campsites situated within one loop. The campground is located two miles south of the summit of Mount Diablo and affords perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge. RVs are limited to 20 feet in length. Trailers are not advised due to driving conditions on the main road. There are no campsites that offer hookups for RVs. The campground has flush toilets and showers, depending on water restrictions. Potable water is available for RVs and trailers at the Lower Summit Parking Lot and the Upper Summit Parking Lot. There is no potable water available within the campground. Campsites are equipped with a picnic table and fire ring. Each campsite is furnished with a paved pad which may require leveling devices. Generators may be used during the day. Pets must be restrained by a six-foot leash at all times. Reservations are available up to six months in advance.
Live Oak Campground
The Live Oak Campground boasts 22 campsites within a single loop. The campground is located one mile north of the South Gate Entrance Station near Rock City. RVs and trailers are limited to 20 feet in length. There are no hookups available within the campground. The campground has flush toilets and showers, depending on water restrictions. Campers are encouraged to bring their own drinking water. RVs and trailers can fill their tanks with potable water at the Lower Summit Parking Lot or Upper Summit Parking Lot. There is no potable water within the campground. Each campsite is furnished with a picnic table and fire ring. Campsites have paved parking pads which may require leveling devices. Generators are limited to use during daytime hours. Pets must be restrained on a six-foot leash. Reservations are available up to six months in advance.
The Junction campground has six campsites for tents within a wooded area of the park that are open on a first-come, first-served basis. The campground is situated at the junction of South Gate Road and North Gate Road. Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table. There are no hookups within the campground. Potable water can be found at the Lower Summit Parking Lot and the Upper Summit Parking Lot. Campsites have paved parking pads which may require leveling devices. Generators usage is limited to daytime hours. Pets must be restrained by a six-foot leash.
Seasonal activities in Mount Diablo State Park
Rock climbers flock to Mount Diablo State Park because of the challenging sandstone formations. Two of the best places in the park for rock climbing include Castle Rock and Rock City. Castle Rock jettisons 972 feet into the air and is accessed from the Little Pine Creek Trail in the northwestern portion of the park. Rock City is situated near the Live Oak campground and contains large sandstone formations. Two intriguing climbs at Rock City are Boy Scout Rocks and Sentinel Rock.
Mount Diablo State Park is a hiker’s paradise. There are more than 50 trails for hikers that are perfect for all abilities from novice to expert. A superb trail for beginners is the nearly one-mile Fire Interpretive Loop Trail and Fossil Ridge Road near Rock City. Expert hikers looking to summit Mount Diablo on foot should try the Summit Trail. More adventurous hikers will relish the challenge of Eagle Peak Trail that extends to the summit of Mount Diablo. No matter which type of trail you aim to tackle make sure you back a good park of hiking boots in your camper.
One of the more popular things to do in Mount Diablo State Park is bicycling. Bicyclists are allowed on all paved roads, authorized trails, and maintained fire roads. Paved roads include the Summit, South Gate, and North Gate Roads, which are popular with road cyclists. Mountain bikers will find challenging trails like Mother’s Trail from Angel Kerley Road to Burma Road, the Summit Trail from South Gate Road through Dan Cook Canyon, and the North Peak Tail starts at the Summit Road at Devil’s Elbow and continues to Prospector’s Gap.
Visiting the Summit Visitor's Center
Mount Diablo State Park features several interpretive centers for visitors. The centers concentrate on teaching visitors the ecosystem of the area and the natural as well as cultural history of the park. Each of the visitor’s centers offers numerous interactive exhibits, lecture,s and special events. Visitors will find a museum at the summit along with the Summit Building that was constructed in the 1930s by the California Conservation Corps. The interpretive center at Mitchell Canyon offers guided hikes by naturalists as well as at Diablo Valley Overlook.
If you are itching to get our on horseback during your RV trip to California this is the perfect place! Horseback riding is a great thing to do in Mount Diablo State Park. The park sports 41 trails for horseback riding that range in length up to six miles long. Macedo Ranch Staging Area is an ideal place to start your adventure which provides access to Mt. Diablo Road, Wall Point Road, and BBQ Terrace Road. Another nice horseback ride within the park is the Mitchell Canyon Fire Road which provides a good staging area to begin your ride at the Mitchell Canyon Interpretive Center and Ranger Station.
Mount Diablo State Park offers panoramic vistas of 40 counties within the state of California. There are stellar locations like the Diablo Valley Overlook,which boast views of the Golden Gate Bridge. On the summit of Mount Diablo visitors can view the Farallon Islands to the west and Mount Loma Prieta to the south. To the north is Mount Saint Helena within the Coast Range, as well as Mount Lassen in the Cascades Mountain Range and the east sports views of the Central Valley of California. Viewing is often better during the winter months which offer less foggy conditions. On a good day you can see Half Dome in Yosemite National Park with a pair of binoculars. So bring your rig to Mount Diablo for some of the best views in the entire state of California!