mt diablo state park

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The Ultimate Guide to Mt. Diablo State Park

For Walnut Creek Marriott guests ready to lace up their hiking boots and scale Mt. Diablo, you won’t be disappointed. Stand at the peak and slowly turn in a circle. You’ll see San Francisco, the Central Valley, the Sierra Nevadas, and on a clear day, as far north as Lassen Peak, 181 miles away. Mt. Diablo is home to countless hiking, biking, and riding trails, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Walnut Creek!

Take a look at our guide to Mt. Diablo State Park to plan your picture-perfect East Bay adventure!

Walnut Creek Accommodations

hotel room near mt diablo state park

Just Six Miles from the North Gate!

We might be biased, but we’re partial to our luxurious suites here at Walnut Creek Marriott. And since we’re less than six miles from the North Gate of Mt. Diablo State Park, it’s no big thing to wake up early for a picturesque sunrise hike.

With spacious accommodations for your entire group, Walnut Creek Marriott is the perfect home base for your Mt. Diablo excursion! The Junior Suite features a plush, pillow-top king-size bed along with a pull-out sofa bed, able to sleep up to six. Of course, if you need even more room, our Presidential Suite features over 1,000 sq. ft. of living space, including living area, a dining room, full kitchen, and wet bar.

During your stay at Walnut Creek Marriott, you'll enjoy:

  • "Sleep Well" Bedding to Relax After a Day at the Park
  • High-Speed Internet
  • Netflix-Connected Smart TVs
  • Free In-Room Coffee to Fuel Up for Your Morning Hike
  • Mini-Fridge for your Leftovers or Hiking Snacks
  • Complimentary Shuttle to Downtown Walnut Creek
  • Valet Parking for $25.00 per Day
  • An Electric Car Charging Station

Reserve Your Room

Where to Hike at Mt. Diablo State Park

Mt. Diablo is the ideal hiking location for those with moderate to advanced abilities. The trail map is a handy resource when planning your sojourn, but here are a few of the most popular trails to try:

Falls Trail Loop: a six-mile hike with a 1,700-foot elevation gain, the trailhead is at the end of Regency Drive or Mountaire Parkway in Clayton. If you’re climbing in winter or spring, this trail offers views of the spectacular waterfalls, some over 100-feet high. It’s rated as a moderate hike.

Juniper/Pioneer/Summit Loop: if you can’t rest until you see the summit, take this route. It’s about four miles and offers the breathtaking views you’re looking for.

Sycamore Canyon Loop: this is the ideal fall foliage hike. It’s about three miles, with a 500-foot elevation gain, so it’s easier than the previous two recommendations.

Regardless of which trail you choose, make sure you plan to be back at your vehicle by sunset to avoid getting locked in. If you’re hiking alone, always leave an itinerary with a friend and check in once you’re done hiking for the day. Feel free to use our communicative front desk staff as your hiking safety resource!

mt diablo state park sunrise hike

Biking at Mt. Diablo

If cycling is more your style, you can bike instead of hike to the top of Mt. Diablo using either the North or South Gate Road, but Encina Bikes is located just one mile from the North Gate Entrance and rents bikes for about $40.00 for 24 hours. That’s plenty of time to reach the top! And if you have any energy left after your long mountain climb up Diablo, you can hop on the BART for a ride around San Francisco too.

Bikers, remember that wearing two headphones is illegal. Use one or none at all. You should also make sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back, especially if you’ll be cycling alone.

Ride Horseback Instead

A horseback adventure is unforgettable, especially in a setting like the rolling hills of northern California. Bring your horses to Mt. Diablo State Park for epic trail riding throughout nearly the entire park. Only two trails are closed to horses - Mary Bowerman trail and the Summit trail.

Load and unload in either the Mitchell Canyon staging area near the north side of the park or the Macedo Ranch staging area on the west side. While water troughs are located throughout the park, they are often empty so you should bring water for your horses.

Nothing Beats a Picnic

picnic at mt diablo state park

Save lunch for the wind caves and Sentinel Rock! This quick picnic hike starts at Mt. Diablo State Park’s south entrance, where you’ll take the Summit trail past Live Oak camping area. Soon, you’ll happen upon the Rock City region of the park, where eroding water created the curious geological features known as the wind caves. You can also climb the carved stone staircase to the top of Sentinel Rock!

Since this will be enough to work up your appetite, make sure you pack a hearty meal. We suggest stopping at Domenico’s in Danville - think roasted turkey with Havarti and red pepper mayo. It’s show-stopping!

views from mt diablo

The Perfect Selfie Opportunity

Pictures or it didn’t happen! You’d better believe you’re #ontopoftheworld when you finally scale the last stretch and make it to 3,849 feet above sea level. Now, where should you set up your tripod or take out your selfie stick?

The perfect Mt. Diablo selfie can be captured at the summit, where you can visit the Summit Museum’s observation deck every day between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Just walk upstairs to the second level of the historic stone building and you’ll be treated to some of the most breathtaking mountain views in the Bay Area.

Get Ready for Your Day at Mt. Diablo

Did you forget your favorite hiking socks? Need to stock up on trail mix? Walnut Creek Marriott is located minutes from many of your usual favorite stores, like Target (0.6 miles away), Whole Foods (1.7 miles away), and Dick’s Sporting Goods (2.9 miles away). Just ask the team at the front desk to point you in the right direction for all of your necessary adventuring supplies!

Parking and Directions

Walnut Creek Marriott is just 5.4 miles from the Mount Diablo State Park North Gate Entrance. To enter the park, you'll need to pay $10.00 per vehicle, which includes parking for the day. Valet parking at Walnut Marriott Creek is $25.00 per day.

Get Directions

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