In March, Clay and I organized a single night camping trip at Mt. Diablo for some of our friends from church. Since it was near Walnut Creek, we stopped by a small sandwich shop called Morucci's Si Mangia Bene for lunch together. As we drove to Mt. Diablo afterwards, we witnessed a gorgeous scene: the mountains were full of fresh new grass of the season, large green trees, and lush rolling hills. It made me so glad that we booked this site for the beginning of spring!
First, we headed out to Rock City (inside Mt. Diablo State Park) to explore some awesome rock formations together. The place is absolutely great for an outdoor day trip with family and friends, with several spots that are perfect for picnics. It also makes for a fun natural playground for kids to climb over - there were tons of children there! As for our group, we enjoyed climbing over and around the Wind Caves, these giant cavities sculpted in the sandstone. With all the steps carved into the rocks and cables for people to hang on to, we were able to venture further out and climb on top of Sentinel Rock. The last formation we got to see was Elephant Rock, which I included a photo of above :)
In the mid-afternoon we went to set up camp at the Juniper Campground. Three notes about the site: 1) It is first come first serve, so no specific spots are reserved for campers within the grounds. 2) Although it's nice that there are a few fire pits available, you must bring your own firewood from outside! 3) The main entrance to the park closes at sun-down and re-opens around 7:30am. What I loved about the location was that it was right next to a lovely hill (covered with some bright orange poppies!) with a peaceful view looking down.
The Juniper Campground is also very close to the summit - just a little over a mile long hike upward to get to the top. So we decided to hike up before dinner to see the magnificent view right before sunset. At the top, there is a huge parking lot and sometimes there are scheduled activities organized by park rangers & staff - that evening's event involved telescopes! And apparently there's even an area that serves as a wedding venue up there. The last photo I included is a quick snapshot of the view from the top, definitely just a small section that doesn't do the scene justice though!
Just capturing as I go.