December 19, 2009

Diablo Foothills Hike

For our final hike of the year we headed to Diablo Foothills Regional Park in Walnut Creek. The parks 1,060 acres sit between Mt Diablo and the Shell Ridge Open Space. The park has two staging areas, Livorna Road on the south, and Castle Rock road on the north side. We went to the Castle Rock Trailhead. We started on the Castle Rock Trail right across the road from the parking lot. The morning fog had not yet lifted and the trail was very muddy. Early on there was a steep climb but it was short lived. We made a left onto Shell Ridge Loop Trail. Along this section the fog was so thick we barely noticed the cows grazing only a few feet away. We continued on Shell Ridge Trail and turned right onto Stage Road Trail. Next was a right onto Buckeye Ravine Trail, which was a narrow .4 mile single track and all uphill. We then turned left onto Briones to Mt Diablo Trail. This trail leads straight to a gate which marks the border between Diablo Foothills and Mt Diablo State Park. We crossed through the gate where you get your view of China Wall, a long rock outcropping. We hiked over to the wall itself near a pond and this would be our turn around point. We retraced our steps back on the Briones to Mt. Diablo Trail. After passing Buckeye Ravine Trail we made a right on an unnamed trail to take us back to Shell Ridge Loop Trail. Making a left on Castle Rock Trail led us through Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area before ending at our car. Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area has group picnic areas, basketball courts, softball fields and a swimming pool. Our hike totaled 6 miles with not much elevation change. It was a nice hike to do in cool weather since most of it was exposed. We passed several mountain bikers along the trails so we may go back and ride some time.

EBRPD Diablo Foothills Website