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Wild Recovery
San Jose, California
December 1, 2012
Mt Diablo
Contra Costa County
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The Place

Mt Diablo
State Park
December 1, 2012

Hill View

Mount Diablo is sacred to many California Native American peoples; according to Miwok mythology and Ohlone mythology, it was the point of creation. Prior to European entry, the creation narrative varied among surrounding local groups. In one surviving narrative fragment, Mount Diablo and Reed's Peak were surrounded by water; from these two islands the creator Coyote and his assistant Eagle-man made Indian people and the world. In another, Molok the Condor brought forth his grandson Wek-Wek the Falcon Hero, from within the mountain.
About 25 independent tribal groups with well-defined territories lived in the surrounding East Bay countryside. Their members spoke dialects of three distinct languages: Ohlone, Bay Miwok, and Northern Valley Yokuts. Most of Mount Diablo, including its peak, was within the homeland of the early Volvon, a Bay Miwok-speaking group.


The conventional view is that the peak derives its name from the 1805 escape, of several Chupcan Native Americans, from the Spanish, in a nearby willow thicket. The natives seemed to disappear and the Spanish soldiers, gave the area the name "Monte del Diablo", meaning "thicket of the devil." Monte was later misinterpreted by English speakers as mount or mountain.


Mount Diablo is a geologic anomaly. The mountain is the result of geologic compression and uplift caused by the movements of the Earth's plates. The mountain lies between converging earthquake faults and continues to grow slowly. While the principal faults, in the region, are of the strike-slip type. A significant thrust fault (with no surface trace) is found on the mountain's southwest flank. The uplift and subsequent weathering and erosion have exposed ancient oceanic Jurassic and Cretaceous age rocks that now form the summit. The mountain grows from three to five millimeters each year.


In the wintertime, between November and February, Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles are present. Mount Diablo is part of the Diablo Range, which enjoys the largest concentration of Golden Eagles anywhere. In recent years there have been credible sightings of California Condors. The park's vegetation is mixed oak woodland and savannah and open grassland with extensive areas of chaparral and a number of endemic plant species, such as the Mount Diablo manzanita, Mount Diablo fairy-lantern, chaparral bellflower, Mount Diablo bird's beak, and Mount Diablo sunflower. Mt. Diablo boasts one of the largest viewsheds in the Western United States and it played a key role in California history. Countless peaks in the state are taller, but Mount Diablo has a remarkable visual prominence for a mountain of such modest elevation. On a clear day the Sierra Nevada is plainly visible, and the best views are after a winter storm.


Walking the Walk

Level: 4       Miles: 8.5       Elevation: 2620 ft       Hosts: Troy and Amy

Mount Olympia's summit is at 2950' and is located on the eastern shoulder of Mount Diablo's North Peak. The view from the top is well worth the challenge to get there. Being one of the least visited spots in this over 19,000-acre park, it'll be a great spot for a meeting. We start at 525' and hike up Donner Canyon for a little warm up before starting the ascent. We then turn off of the fire road and take some of the more scenic single track trails on the way to Olympia Trail. Parts of this hike are steep. There are two ½ mile sections of trail combined where we climb over 1200' of our total elevation gain.


Directions: To Mt Diablo

Take I-680 North. In Walnut Creek take the Ygnacio Valley Road exit and turn right. Continue on Ygnacio Valley Road 7.5 miles and turn right on Clayton Road. This becomes Marsh Creek Road. Turn right on Regency Drive and follow it to the end of the road where we will meet. Drive time: 1 hour 15 minutes
NOTE: This is not one of the main entrances to Mount Diablo State Park.


Know Before You Go:

Parking FREE


Wild Recovery Meetings | What to Wear & Bring | Trail Maps/ Park Info | Contact Us
What is Wild Recovery? | NA Online Resources | Business & Documents