Fall Scorpion Hike at Mt. Diablo Sept 9th

Photo by Flickr user kretyen
Fall Scorpion Hike:

Mitchel Canyon Visitor’s Center
96 Mitchell Canyon Rd, Clayton
Sunday, September 9th, 2018
6:30 – 8:30pm | $18

Explore the habitat of local scorpions along the north face of Mount Diablo, starting at the Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Experience the excitement of finding scorpions glowing like green neon signs in the dark discover and observe the diverse plants and animals inhabiting Mount Diablo. Hikes cover a distance of 2 miles.

BRING flashlight, hiking shoes and bottled water. Additional cost: $6 parking at the Visitor’s Center. Map and directions will be emailed with your online registration confirmation.


Looking for Tarantula Love on Mount Diablo on Sept. 3rd & 4th

Looking for Tarantula Love on Mount Diablo:

Mount Diablo State Park
96 Mitchell Canyon Road
Saturday, September 3rd & Sunday, September 4th, 2016
5:00pm – 7:30pm | $6/car (exact change)

Join MDIA naturalists Jim Holmes, Michael Marchiano and its team of docents for a talk about Tarantulas followed by a leisurely 2.5 to 3 mile walk to see the male spiders looking for a mate. These often maligned, feared spiders are completely harmless to humans. Learn why they’re only visible as the summer wanes, where they live, what they eat, how they survive. Bring water, snacks, camera, flashlight and dress for the weather. Mitchell Canyon Picnic Area at 96 Mitchell Canyon Road; $6/car with exact change only. Reserve early as the walks fill up quickly; limited to 25 people each.



Night Hike Adventure at Mt. Diablo State Park on July 15th

Night Hike Adventure:

Mitchell Canyon Visitors Center and Trailhead
Mt. Diablo State Park, Clayton
Friday, July 15th, 2016
7:00pm – 9:30pm | $6 (per car – exact change)

Experience Mt Diablo State Park after the gates are closed and everyone has gone home. Join Naturalist Michael Marchiano for a twilight to dark excursion in Mitchell Canyon, looking for night time critters including, bats, owls, raccoons, frogs and toads, night hunting insects and scorpions. Learn about some of the seldom seen, secretive creatures that come out on a warm evening. Dress for the weather, must bring a flashlight, and also bring water and a snack if desired. Cameras are welcome. But mostly bring your curiosity and desire to have a new experience.


Common Poorwill Bird Walk at Mitchell Canyon Trailhead on July 1st


Common Poorwill Bird Walk:

Mitchell Canyon Visitors Center and Trailhead
Mt. Diablo State Park, Clayton
Friday, July 1st, 2016
7:00pm – 10:30pm | $6 (per car – exact change)

Denise Wright leads this three mile hike listening to birds of the early evening on the hike to Red Road. As twilight approaches, hikers near the upper portion of White Canyon, listening for the Common Poorwill and local owls. The returning hike in the dark may turn up some interesting wildlife. Dress in layers and bring snacks, liquids and flashlight. Be prepared for ticks and poison oak.
Reservation required.


Black Friday Eagle Peak Hike at Mount Diablo State Park on Nov. 27th


Black Friday Eagle Peak Hike:

Mitchell Canyon trailhead
96 Mitchell Canyon Rd, Clayton
Friday, November 27th, 2015
9:00am – 3:30pm | $6 per car

Get outdoors and get healthy! From the trailhead, we will climb past Mitchell Rock, Twin Peaks, and through some steep and rocky sections to Eagle Peak with its magnificent view of the Diablo summit, North Peak and the canyons below. Our return route will be via Murchio Gap, Deer Flat and Mitchell Canyon. Allow 6.5 hours for this 8-mile loop with a cumulative climb of 3,101 feet. Steady pace with lunch break. Wear layered clothing, and bring a lunch or snacks, liquids, and hiking poles if you use them. Be prepared for mud and poison oak. Rain cancels.

This is Hike #7 in the newly released Hiker’s Guide to Mount Diablo State Park.

Daily Life

Poison Oak Alert – Beware!


The other day I went on a tarantula trek in Mt. Diablo State Park and in addition to seeing tarantulas and scorpions, we also learned about poison oak. I’ve heard a lot about poison oak but never definitively encountered any until our guide helpfully pointed it out. Take a good look at the above photo. That is definitely poison oak.

According to Wikipedia:

The leaves are divided into three (rarely 5, 7, or 9) leaflets, 3.5 to 10 centimeters (1.4 to 3.9 in) long, with scalloped, toothed, or lobed edges. They generally resemble the lobed leaves of a true oak, though tend to be more glossy. Leaves are typically bronze when first unfolding in February to March, bright green in the spring, yellow-green to reddish in the summer, and bright red or pink from late July to October.

Unlike tarantulas, which are harmless to humans, poison oak, “causes itching; then evolves into dermatitis with inflammation, colorless bumps, severe itching, and blistering”. So stay away from poison oak, and remember these photos to remind you what to look out for.



Round the Mountain Hike on Walnut Creek’s Mount Diablo on June 7th


Round the Mountain Hike:

Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center
96 Mitchell Canyon Rd, Clayton
Sunday, June 7th, 2015
10:30am – 5:00pm | $6 (parking)

This classic loop features views in all directions as the trail circles the park’s namesake peak (elev. 3849’) via Deer Flat, Murchio Gap, Prospector’s Gap and Oak Knoll. Between Prospector’s Gap and Oak Knoll, this eight-mile hike passes through sections that burned in the September 2013 Morgan Fire. Late season wildflowers should be abundant. Steady relaxed pace with lunch break. Wear good hiking shoes; bring liquids and snacks; dress in layers, apply sunscreen and be prepared for poison oak.

Meet: Diablo Valley Overlook at Juniper Campground

Parking: $10 per vehicle

For more information:


Twin Peaks Wildflower Hike at Mt. Diablo on May 3rd

Twin Peaks Wildflower Hike:

Mitchell Canyon trailhead
96 Mitchell Canyon Rd, Clayton
Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
1:00pm – 5:00pm | $6/car

Join hike leaders Jake Van Akkeren and Leslie Bartholic on this 4.5 mile hike winding past Mitchell Rock through a lovely wildflower garden, then just below Twin Peaks with outstanding views of Back Creek Canyon, and up to North Peak and Mount Diablo’s summit.Explore the hills framing Riggs Canyon in the southeastern reaches of Mount Diablo State Park. After following the spiny ridge separating Back Creek and Mitchell Canyons for a short bit, the hike descends to the Eagle Peak Trail and lowlands below. From there, hike the Coulter Pine Trail back to the trailhead. Bring, liquids, dress in layers, be prepared for poison oak and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Steady rain or severe winds cancel. Meet at Mitchell Canyon Trailhead; $6/vehicle. No reservations required. Details at


Baby Tarantula & Wildflower Hike on Mt. Diablo on Apr. 4th

Photo by Flickr user Tarantuland

Baby Tarantula & Wildflower Hike:

Mitchell Canyon Visitor
Mount Diablo State Park
Saturday, April 4th, 2015
3:00pm – 5:00pm | $15

Explore the habitat of local tarantulas along the north face of Mount Diablo with Jim Holmes, an experienced naturalist. Spring is the time for newly hatched baby tarantulas to emerge from their burrows. Additionally, experience the vast array of wild flowers in bloom. Hikes start from Mitchell Canyon Visitor’s Center at Mount Diablo State Park and cover a distance of 2 miles. Hiking shoes and bottled water are highly recommended. Additional costs: $6 for parking at the Visitor’s Center. Map and directions will be sent after registration completed.