These harmless creatures come out in force this time of year. But with a light breeze on a fall afternoon, I set out to see some wildlife and conquer Black Point Loop.
If you came looking for overgrown trail, intermittent bushwhacking, poison oak, solitude and an elevator shaft type ascent, then look no farther.
Hike the well-maintained Mitchell Canyon Road from the staging area for a short time until you reach a brown bench, signaling the beginning of Black Point Trail. BPT starts a gradual climb on a single-track trail that quickly becomes a fire road for much of the first part of the hike.
Panoramic views of Mitchell Rock and Eagle Peak make for a fantastic backdrop along these stretches of trail. BPT continues uphill and begins a repeated sequence of tight switchbacks that push through overgrown brush and wildflowers past their seasonal prime.
Stop for sneak-a-peak views along the mostly dirt trail, which dives back into the adjacent canyon while flanking a high cut into the hillside. As you near the top, cut over the hillside from a south- to north-facing slope and take note how quickly the flora changes. Trees, wildflowers and greenery became an instant sea of sagebrush.
Make a quick side trip to Black Point Summit (elevation 1,791 feet) for truly spectacular, 360-degree views. You can see the Delta waterways, Benicia, Danville and beyond from this vantage point.
Once back on the trail, you make a long arc through more endless fields of sage and back down toward Red Road. This trail mimics a dry creek bed with twists, turns and rocks a plenty, not to mention a few steep sections. You will eventually pick up Red Road, a Cadillac cruising type fire road that allows a leisurely pace back toward the trailhead.
Just before you reach Mitchell Canyon Road, make a quick left onto Globe Lily Trail. This is a half mile of some of the best hiking around. The trail was scattered with tarantulas and wildflowers, a nice way to end my visit to Mount Diablo State Park.
Finish up by following Black Point Trail back to Mitchell Canyon Road and end back at the staging area.
If you are looking for a seldom-visited part of this park, this might be your spot. Enjoy – this is the best time of year in Nor Cal.
Black Point Trail Loop
Where: Mitchell Canyon Trail, Black Point Trail, Red Road, Globe Lily
Distance: 5.4 miles
Time: 2+ hours
Elevation gain: 1,211 feet
Highest point: Black Point Summit: 1,791 feet
Etc.: $6 fee at Mitchell Canyon Staging Area, restrooms, trail maps, water
Trip tips: Hike using “buddy system” and always carry plenty of water, sunscreen and tick remover
Contact Kevin Parker with comments or questions by email at LukeHollywood@gmail.com