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Thanks to Nileema this plan materialized when it did. It had been more than a month since I hiked and this plan instantly captured my complete attention. I was supposed to go skiing that day but had to work late the night before and so this was possible. We were a large enough group, let me name the girls first – Nileema and Kimaya and us boys – Animesh, Shrikant, Kshitij, Jai and I. We drove to the trail head which is a residential no exit street in the peaceful town of Clayton. This is the east entrance to Mt. Diablo state park and just a few miles east of the Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center.
We started the hike at 11am, which is normally quite late for a hike but being a beautiful winter day, it was just warm enough for a great hike. We took the Donner Canyon trail on the left of the trailhead entrance to Cardinal Oaks Rd, which is about 1.5miles in distance. This was pretty much a normal fire road that you find in national and state parks in the US. Cardinal Oaks Rd (left) took us to Olympia Trail that became a nice relatively less maintained route. I enjoyed walking along this trail with occasional stops to admire the beauty that surrounded me. It gave the feeling of being alone but very much in close company to nature. We reached Mt Olympia peak at an altitude of close to 3000 feet very quickly. By 1:30pm we were snapping pictures up at the peak. Oh the last couple of hundred feet to the peak was pretty steep. I also found a tree where I could play. The setting was just right for photography. After spending a good half an hour or so, we decided to find a nice spot for lunch. A neighboring peak was very inviting and I couldn’t let the opportunity to climb it to the top go. We all decided and stopped for lunch atop this unknown neighbor of Mt. Olympia. After about 45mins, we made our way up to North Peak at ~3500feet. North peak is predominantly seen all the way from the trailhead. It has huge communication towers at the top. We spent some time there and then decided to head back down to the trailhead.
We started the return hike at 3pm. We took the Prospectors Gap Rd to Prospectors Gap. Followed it towards the trailhead in the north west direction. We then took the Prospectors Gap Trail followed by the bear creek trail back to the trailhead. Not having visited North peak and Mt. Diablo summit the last time around with Abhinava, this time I completed the loop. Mt. Diablo state park is a nice place for half a day / a day’s outing. The elevation gain is pretty much comparable to Mission Peak or you could even say it’s a tad tougher. J Directions from South Bay – CA237 E -> 880N -> Mission Blvd -> 680 N (Sacramento) -> Exit towards Clayton. Use Google maps/Everytrail. Best Time to visit: Winter
Things to carry: Water (There are no water sources in the park).
Best HIke: Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center -> Twin Peaks -> Eagle Peaks -> North Peak -> Prospector's Gap -> Mt. Diablo summit -> Prospectors Gap -> Mt. Olympia -> Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center.