Now that it finally feels like June, hundreds of Bay Area trails are hardening under the hot sun and eagerly await shoe, paw, hoof and tire alike. Diablo Foothills Regional Park is a great spot to take advantage of some of these trails.
Located in between Alamo and Walnut Creek, Diablo Foothills gets its name from the towering mountain which looms over the park grounds. The area boasts more than 1,000 acres of land and provides access to both Shell Ridge Open Space and Mount Diablo State Park. With a nice variety in terrain, this regional park can easily keep you occupied for an entire day.
To get to the park through Alamo, take Livorna road off the I-680 freeway. Drive east about two miles and the staging area is on the left just before the guarded entrance into the residential community of Stonegate. Parking is free, and there is a single trail leading from this staging area into the park.
A second staging area can also be found in Walnut Creek at 1700 Castle Rock Road.
Like always, it is wise to pick up a free brochure at the trail head, and use the map provided to outline your hike. The web of trails here is so thick that you should be able to map out a route that loops back around to your starting point. This way you can avoid backtracking on already explored trails.
Whatever route you plan though, I suggest incorporating Stage Road Trail. This will take you along Pine Canyon which is my favorite section of the park. Stage Road shadows Pine Creek, and this riparian environment makes for a wide plant and tree diversity. There are also neat rock formations to admire along the canyon walls.
Adding this section to your hike will also guarantee you a bit of shade. The first portion of the trek is mostly over rolling hills exposed to the sun, so traveling down into the canyon can bring some welcome relief.
As you explore Diablo Foothills it’s hard not to notice the high activity of the area. Brightly colored birds constantly chirp and fly low while their larger cousins circle above. Swarms of ground squirrels race from hole to hole. Lizards sunbathe on rocks, and tadpoles flounder near pond shores. You won’t travel more than a few minutes without stumbling onto some sort of wildlife at this park.
With well-maintained trails, diverse plant and tree life, and a myriad of vibrant creatures, Diablo Foothills is one of the more enjoyable regional parks in the East Bay. Let’s just hope Mr. Sun pays this park a visit so that you can as well.
At a Glance:
Diablo Foothills Regional Park
Address: Livorna Road, just west of Stonegate Drive in Alamo.
Hours: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Best time to visit: Any day with nice weather. Near dawn or dusk for increased chances of seeing wildlife.
Great for: Hiking, Biking, Horseback Riding, Dog Walking.
Could be better if: You visit after a dry spell to ensure solid trails.