Skip to main content

November Bay Trip Part 2; Mount Diablo State Park

The Diablo Range is a long inland Californian Coastal range stretching from the Carquinez Straight near San Francisco Bay south to the Temblor Range roughly bounded by California State Route 46. I've been down pretty much almost every major road in the Diablo Range over the years, some are among my favorites like CA 198 and the Parkfield Grade.  There has been two major roads I had left to explore in the Diablo Range that I've been meaning to get off my list of things to do.  First is Idria Road to the Idria Mine and the Summit Road of Mount Diablo in Mount Diablo State Park.






After jumping onto I-580 after completing I-205 I took I-680 north to Diablo Road.





I took Diablo Road to Mount Diablo Scenic Boulevard which runs to the southern entrance of the State Park becoming South Gate Road.







Mount Diablo is a 3,849 peak in the northern Diablo Range.  While not the tallest peak in the Diablo Range Mount Diablo has a prominence of 3,109 feet which gives it one of the widest vistas in all of California.  Mount Diablo is the tall mountain that can be seen east of the Golden Gate Bridge behind San Francisco Bay and Oakland.

Mount Diablo is accessed via the Summit Road which is reached by the South Gate Road from the south and the North Gate Road from the north.  The South Gate Route is 10.5 miles from the state park entrance and averages a 5.8% grade on a 3,169 foot ascent.  The North Gate Road route is 12.4 miles long from the state park entrance and averages a 6% grade on a 3,687 foot ascent.  The vital statistics I just cited were obtained from Pjammey Cycling which is probably the best place to get grade information on notable Californian roadways.  The link below even has a handy map of both the South and North Gate Roads.

Pjammey Cycling on Mount Diablo

Given I just cited a cycling website you'd might imagine the road is popular for cyclists and you'd certainly be correct about that.  Signage warns drivers constantly to be leery of Cyclists.  My ascent to Mount Diablo was on the South Gate Road while my descent was on the North Gate Road.





The 1,000 foot line is reached quickly on the South Gate Road.





The South Gate Road has a ton of open vistas along sweeping cliff-side roadways that utilize numerous hairpins.


The actual gate on South Gate Road is actually several miles into Mount Diablo State Park.


Mount Diablo finally starts to come into view, the Summit Road really does go all the way to the top.





The South and North Gate Roads meet at the Walnut Creek Ranger Station which is about 2,000 feet above sea level.


The Summit Road is only 4.3 miles long but gains the bulk of the elevation up to Mount Diablo.  Apparently the average grade on the Summit Road is 6.7% but there is definitely a spot or two near the top over 10%.





The drive to the top of the Summit Road isn't fast with 15-20 MPH speed limits but it is plenty wide and well engineered.  I wasn't hurting for passing room for bikes or oncoming traffic on the ascent up to the summit.









The actual top of Summit Road is the actual 3,849 peak of Mount Diablo.


There is one hell of a view looking back south at all the switchbacks along Summit Road.  It reminds me of a miniature Pikes Peak Highway.






The views of the area were kind of obstructed eastward with a cloud hanging over the summit.






Part of Mount Diablo was acquired for State Park use in 1921 but it wasn't until 1931 that enough land was annexed before the park was formally dedicated.  The Summit Building was built sometime in the 1930s.





The drive back down to the Walnut Creek Ranger Station is stunning.  I used 1st gear most of the way down off the Summit Road given the speed limit was so low that I didn't feel a need to use my brakes up.












The North Gate Road is far less daunting than the South Gate Road.  There are a couple hairpins but they are far wider than the South Gate Road.  There was some minor road damage along the North Gate Road but nothing too out of control.  Unlike the South Gate Road the actual gate is at the state park boundary.











According to the Mount Diablo State Park brochure North Gate, South Gate, and Summit Road were all opened as stage routes in 1874.  Apparently the roads were closed sometime in the 1890s and reopened again by 1915.

Mount Diablo State Park Brochure

All three roads are clearly seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways map Contra Costa County as under county maintenance.

1935 Contra Costa County Map






 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Sierran Death Highway, Blackrock Road

Back in 2016 I was pursuing dangerousroads.org looking for a interesting paved road akin to Kaiser Pass Road and Mineral King Road both which I had done earlier in the year.  I found what I was looking for in Blackrock Road located in rural eastern Fresno County at the confluence of the Kings River with it's North Fork.


Suffice to say that if I was looking roadways on dangerousroads.org it probably lends suggestion that Blackroad is somewhat on the hazardous side, it is.  Blackrock Road is an approximately 26-27 mile long one-lane road located in Sierra National Forest.  Blackrock Road is partially paved running from the Bailey Bridge at the Kings River north to the Wishon Reservoir roughly following the west bank of the North Fork Kings River.  Every documentation I've seen shows the road is really spelled "Blackrock" as opposed to "Black Rock" like the nearby Pacific Gas & Electricity Reservoir.

My goal on Blackrock Road was simple; I wanted to see al…

Ghost Town Tuesday; Mannfield, FL and the stairway to Hell

Back in 2015 I went searching the Lecanto Sand Hills for the original Citrus County Seat known as Mannfield.  Unlike Centrailia in Hernando County and Fivay in Pasco County I did find something worth seeing.



Mannfield is located in the Lecanto Sand Hill section of Withlacoochee State Forest somewhat east of the intersection of Citrus County Route 491 and Mansfield Road.

Mannfield was named after Austin Mann and founded in Hernando County in 1884 before Citrus County Split away.  In 1887 Citrus County was split from northern Hernando County while Pasco County was spun off to the south.  Mannfield was selected as the new Citrus County seat due to it being near the county geographic center.  Reportedly Mannfield had as many as 250 people when it was the County Seat.  The town included various businesses one might include at the time, even a sawmill which was common for the area.  In 1891 Citrus County voted to move it's seat to Inverness which set the stage for the decline of Mannfi…

Route 66 Wednesdays; The Twin Arrow Trade Post and Padre Canyon

Back in 2015 I revisited some of my favorite derelict haunts along former segments of US Route 66 between Flagstaff and Winslow.  The first stop was east of Winona at the Twin Arrows Trade Post.   The ruins of the Twin Arrow Trade Post is located immediately east of Padre Canyon off of I-40/US 180 exit 219.






The Twin Arrows Trade Post was originally started in the late 1940s as the Canyon Padre Trading Post.  Apparently business at the Canyon Padre Trading Post didn't start taking off until the two 25 foot arrows pictured above were put in and the name was changed to the Twin Arrows Trade Post in 1954.  I'm to understand the name change to Twin Arrows was partially inspired by close proximity to the Navajo Nation in addition to the booming business at the nearby Two Guns Trade Post to the east at Canyon Diablo.  The Twin Arrows Trade Post shuttered for good in the 1990s and has been sitting on the south side of I-40/US 180 ever since.  To the north of I-40/US 180 the Twin Arrow…