Mt. Diablo State Park is awesomely hiker-friendly—surprising perhaps, considering one can DRIVE to the top of Mt. Diablo and the most obvious foot-powered park users on weekend mornings are colorfully clad cyclists pedaling up and zooming down the mountain.
On a recent visit to the park, I hiked amidst an array of spring wildflowers and observed park staff, and the park’s nonprofit support organization, the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association doing a great job in helping hikers choose trails for their hiking abilities and for the amount of time they had to spend in the park.
The interpretive association publishes a trio of trail brochures for hikers that are a cut above the usual park handouts: the title the brochures, “Short Pleasant Walks in Mt. Diablo State Park,” Moderate Hikes in Mt. Diablo State Park,” and “Demanding Hikes in Mt. Diablo State Park.”
I like the way the publications divide up the hikes by difficulty—more evocative and descriptive than the usual easy-moderate-difficult.
From the introduction to “Short Pleasant Walks in Mt. Diablo State Park:” They have been selected for those of you who want to spend an hour or so—certainly no more than two hours—on a trail amidst the mountain’s natural treasures, but who do not wish to, or cannot, take advantage of some of the more challenging hikes.”
From the introduction to “Demanding Hikes in Mt. Diablo State Park:” Each one represents a physical challenge, but the ultimate purpose of inviting you to try them out is not to test your endurance nor to ask you to establish timing records, but to open up for your pleasure some of the hidden beauty spots on the mountain.”
Mount Diablo Interpretive Association has worked with state park staff on mapping projects since the early 1980s and the latest edition of the “Trail Map of Mount Diablo State Park” is terrific. User-friendly enough for the casual visitor, the map is also sufficiently detailed in its presentation of topography to be valuable for the ambitious hiker exploring remote parts of the park. All 187 miles of park trail are accurately depicted, and the map matches up with the park’s 407 trail signposts.
The map is state-of-the-art in other ways. A UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) grid is provided—sure to please those hikers who use a GPS unit. The map is printed on weather-resistant, waterproof plastic.