Mount Diablo State Park

Mount Diablo State Park is a 20,000 acre state park in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area. The park protects Mount Diablo, an upthrust peak that is only 3,849 feet (1,173 m) tall, yet towers over its surroundings, providing amazing views from its summit that on clear days can stretch as far as Mount Lassen, 181 miles to the north.

Mt. Diablo from Highway 24

. . . Mount Diablo State Park . . .

In one quick turn on the summit you can see San Francisco, the Central Valley, and when conditions are favorable, the Sierra Nevada. Occasionally capped with a light snow dusting in the winter and packed with countless small rivers and waterfalls in the spring, Mt. Diablo is a nature lover’s paradise.

Mount Diablo is sacred to many Native Americans and was considered the point of creation by the Miwok Indians. Today, evidence of Native American presence on the mountain can be seen at Rock City and elsewhere in the park, with grinding holes in the stone showing where the Miwok once smashed acorns and other nuts into powder.

In 1851 the mountain played a vital role in the initial survey of the Western United States when Colonel Leander Ransom chose the south peak of the mountain as his starting point. Subsequent surveys in much of California, Oregon and Nevada were located with respect to this point.

Protection of the mountain began in 1931 when the state acquired land around the peak and created a park. The Civilian Conservation Corps made many improvements to the area during the 1930s, including roads, trails, ranger residences, maintenance buildings, campgrounds and picnic facilities. The CCC also constructed the Summit Visitor Center using stone quarried from the mountain, and visitors today can view shells and other fossils embedded in this natural building material.

On December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the beacon on Mt. Diablo was turned off to prevent enemy aircraft from using the light to establish their location. On December 7, 1964, there was a ceremony held at the visitor’s center on Mt. Diablo which included jets flying overhead and local dignitaries speaking. The purpose was to once again turn on the beacon. On cue, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the United States’ last surviving fleet admiral, flipped the switch turning on the beacon. Ever since and only once a year, the beacon is on at night on December 7.

In 1971 a push to expand the park and to protect the mountain from development began with the formation of the Save Mount Diablo organization. Since that time the park has increased in size from 6,788 acres to approximately 20,000 acres. In addition, there are more than 80,000 acres surrounding the park that are now protected by a series of preserves, parks, and open spaces stretching from Suisun Bay all the way south to Interstate 580 near Livermore.

. . . Mount Diablo State Park . . .

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