Best (and Craziest) East Bay Climb

From Base to Summit on Mt. Diablo

If you happen to climb Mt. Diablo by accident, keep a few things in
mind. First, bring plenty of water. Second, bring snacks. Third, the
final shot from Prospectors Gap to the summit is a lot farther than it
looks. Having said all that, this is a challenging hike and well worth
it any time of the year. Terrain varies from grasslands to blue oak,
madrone forest, undulating outcrops, and horizon-wide views. If you are
lucky you might run into a passel of amorous tarantulas out looking for
love in late summer. Start by parking at the end of Regency Drive off
Marsh Creek Road, where it dead-ends at Donner Creek. Stroll through
the live oaks along Donner Canyon Road and perhaps note the ruins of
homesteaders’ property framed by daffodils. The fire road gets steeper
and the soil turns orange-red, and Clayton, then Walnut Creek, spread
out beneath you. Follow the sharp zigzags to the Falls Trail, where
even now you may still see water trickling down the hill. Butterflies
swoop and little nests of green grass and wildflowers still hang on
desperately. By now you can see the Delta. Follow Falls Trail to Middle
Trail and turn right up the vertical hill until you hit Prospectors
Gap. Wheeze your way up as the Sierra becomes visible behind you. At
Prospectors Gap, once the red mist clears from your eyes, you get a
view south to Mission Peak and can almost see the ocean. Press on to
the top to get a real sense of accomplishment, jellied legs, and water
refills. You made it.

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