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Experience tarantulas up close and personal. This is their nesting time—and the perfect time to see these fuzzy arachnids scurry across trails and roads. Head over to the Visitor’s Center where you can hold one as rangers supervise.
Photo Credit: Susan Taylor
Mount Diablo is located at 96 Mitchell Canyon Road in Clayton, about 50 miles east of San Francisco. The park may be accessed by vehicle from the Walnut Creek area (North Gate Road) as well as from the Danville area (South Gate Road). Gates open at 8:00 a.m. and close at sunset. For updates on the status of the observation deck call (925) 837-2525. Day use parking fee: $10/vehicle. The summit and the Visitor Center are open 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily.
Try these awesome hikes recommended by our partner Weekend Sherpa:
Legend has it that a clear day atop the summit of Mount Diablo offers views so broad that only the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro surpasses its scope. At 3,849 feet above sea level, it offers the largest visible expanse of land and water in the lower 48 states. The optimal time to get the biggest view is after a winter storm, when the air is at its crispest. Anyone with four wheels and an engine can gaze at the views from the top, but you’ll gain far more jaw-dropping vistas by tackling this devil by foot on the 4.2-mile Juniper Summit Loop from the Juniper Campground. Climb moderately steep single-track switchbacks that begin under the shade of California bay and gray pine before breaking into epic views of the East Bay. After 1.5 miles, you'll reach the observation deck (currently closed for renovations; see our tip below for viewpoint alternatives!) atop the Mount Diablo Visitor Center (still open!), where you can tap your toe upon the highest point in the East Bay. Then gawk at the famous panorama as a sea of fog drenches the rippling hills below. On a good day you can even see the snow capped Sierra Nevada to the east! Descend via the (sometimes steep) Summit Trail for still more views, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Tamalpais and beyond. This devil’s a delight! Full details at Weekend Sherpa.
Some parks close to Mount Diablo: