We’d been hoping to make this hike happen ever since December, but it was worth the wait. With the rains and the wildflowers bursting in season, the trails were gorgeous and the views so green! N, our fearless leader, researched the Grand Loop Trail, a recommended hike for pretty views and lots of wildflowers.
I have to say that when I skimmed the description, I knew we were in trouble. Out here in the Bay area, trails described as “moderately strenuous” are very strenuous in my book. I don’t know what a “very strenuous” hike is to a Bay area native, but it probably involves scaling rock with your bare hands. Or, I don’t know, jungle trails where you have to carve your own path with a machete.
But I digress. I think we spent about 5.5 hours on this hike, which included a picnic and museum visit at the summit, elevation 3,849 feet. It was chillier than I expected up the mountain, especially as the day started out foggy.
I stopped to admire this tree, which I called “The Lord of the Rings tree.” I knew I was in good company when someone in the group referenced the very scene in the movie that I was thinking of! Can you guess?
The path started off on this lovely, gentle downward slope. We walked downhill for quite a while.
By the time we started the uphill climb, we could barely even see the summit we needed to get to! The uphill stretches were very steep, with lots of loose rock and not much respite. Pretty darn strenuous, if you ask me!
Wildflowers along the trail.
This was my favorite flower sighting of the day. I’m not sure what it’s called, but I loved the flower-upon-flower. Vivid blue buds grow within the maroon flower, and one bulb grows on top of another. The museum at the summit didn’t display this one specifically, but said that there are several wildflower species that only grow on Mt. Diablo because of its unique elevation + climate.
The Summit Trail, which claims to be “a trail through time” or something like that. I’m not sure what that means, but it sure was pretty!
Here, N is petting a mossy tree. But beware – there’s lots of poison oak along the trail!
At the top.
Gorgeous views! You can see a quarry off in the distance.
It happened to be the 150th anniversary celebration of California State Parks (first established in 1864!), so there were free cookies, brownies, hikes and such happening that weekend. Also worth mentioning that the drive up to our starting point was absolutely gorgeous. Glad we postponed this trip after all — definitely recommend going in springtime, after the rains bring the greenery to life! (But not too much rain, or scrambling up muddy rocky trails would actually be very strenuous!!)