Mt. Diablo – Live Oak

Site 2, looking deceptively level

I’m definitely not going to oversell this campground. I mean, we always have fun camping, but this state park is just really not well suited for trailers. I’m sure they know that, but now we’ve tried both campgrounds and we’ve decided there is really only one site that is reasonable. And it’s not the one we were in this weekend.

Since this is such a popular ride, they have added numerous bicycle turnouts. You are not allowed to pass bikes at any other time.

The fun thing about Mt. Diablo is how tall it is compared to everything else around it. From the summit, you can see the Bay and all the way to San Francisco, if it’s clear. The upper campground, Juniper, has a couple of sites that have fun views, but it is really hard to level a trailer in there. Plus the roads are very narrow, super windy, and deathy the whole way. It is slow going to drive up or down. The lower campground, Live Oak, is decidedly easier to get to, but there is pretty much only one site that works for leveling.

That’s some precision backing right there.

The pictures seemed to show site 2, our site, as being long and flat. Yes to the long part, but it got less level the farther I backed, ending under low hanging oak trees that would have prevented the roof from going up. We ended up pulling forward the the very front, which was on a cement pad, but also right next to the designated parking spot for site 1. We didn’t figure anyone would be foolish enough to drag a big rig up that road, and in fact we were the only trailer up there at all. All the rest were tenters or a couple of vans.

Mt. Diablo casting a long sunset shadow

After a quick dinner, we drove up to the summit to watch the sunset. It was hazy down below, but the views are so cool. It’s fun trying to figure out where all the known buildings and roads are. And as the light fades, the twinkling of city lights and cars starts to bring definition to the well traveled routes. “Oh yeah, there’s 24 over there.” We could make out the windmills on the Altamont Pass, as well as the ones on the Delta. Everything was so far below us, like when you’re on an airplane.

That’s San Francisco sticking up through the fog.

Richard has biked up to the top many a time, but we did some hiking together on Saturday and then just chilled. The area around the campground is called Rock City and it is where you can bring your whole family and let the kids scramble around the rock formations. Richard went out and climbed up Sentinel Peak and I got a picture of him. It looked too reminiscent of Angel’s Landing for me to be interested, but he says it was not that bad. I say, if you need to hang onto chains and scramble up steps carved in the side of a sheer rock face, I’ll wave to you when you get to the top. Have fun with that.

Richard is up at the top.

It was warm in the afternoon and Dory was too hot inside for nappy time. The people who had tented in site 1 Friday night bailed so we had the whole area to ourselves. We set up our Nemo chairs in the shade and dozed off for a while.

This little grill sure does come in handy.

Eventually, it was time for dinner. This time, it was Seared Chicken with Sour Cherry Sauce, and roasted potatoes, onions, and Delicata Squash. There is no alcohol allowed in the park, so I enjoyed sipping my icy “lemonade” while I cooked. Richard made it nice and strong “lemonade.”

Rare shot of Richard doing city riding

Sunday we drove down to the Alameda Fairgrounds to use their dump. It was farther to drive there than it was to get from home to our campground, but there aren’t any closer options for dumping. Richard rode the rest of the way home.

But the view sure is nice. No doubt about that.

We enjoyed ourselves, like we do, but were both “meh” about the camping set up. All the water was shut off, so there were porta potties for the campers. We use our own facilities now, which was good, because the porta potties were smelly. They lock the gates at night and clear the roads, so you’d better not need to leave for any reason. It’s an adventure driving up, which is worth it for the view at the top, but perhaps not worth dragging a trailer.

Total miles: 17.4, 11.0 mpg (all uphill), 1 hour 24 min. Site 2, no hookups. No water, no dump. We were in a cell dark zone, but there was service on the trails and up at the top. Midday solar. Long site with wooden poles acting as a chute. Very unlevel farther back in the site. Next time just get site 1. Maybe use the CM to spin.

2 thoughts on “Mt. Diablo – Live Oak

  1. Hi Alissa, I was on the top of Mt. Diablo twice this past year; 1) to walk the Mary Bowerman Trail (partially paved/easy) and 2) to view Jupiter/Saturn/other heavenly bodies via the Mt. Diablo Astronomy Society. Both nice excursions. The bike lanes have improved significantly up & down Mt. D over the past 20+ yrs; too many horrible accidents and too many people — bikers and vehicles — need to share the road. So nice to hear you had a nice time.

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