When winter comes, Northern California's Mount Diablo is the place to go for clear, stunning views, lush hills, and comfortable temperatures. Nearby, good restaurants and a little-known cultural treasure make Danville the perfect place to round out a day trip.
On Diablo, it’s hard to beat the sweeping vistas from the peaceful Mary Bowerman Trail, just below the mountaintop at the end of Summit Road. This gentle loop three-quarters of a mile long overlooks hills wearing a shaggy sweater of electric-green grass and dotted with oaks. The trail is especially nice after a winter storm, says park ranger Carl Nielson. “The air tends to be clear, and you can see San Francisco, the Sierra Nevada toward the east, and even pinpoint certain peaks like Pyramid Peak in Desolation Wilderness. On a super-clear day you can look north and see Mount Lassen.”
Along the way, the path passes craggy Devil’s Pulpit as well as slopes of chaparral burned in the 2013 Morgan Fire that are now sprouting bright new life. Fascinating on its own, this blackened wreckage will become even more eye-catching in spring when it gives rise to an unusually abundant flush of spring wildflowers such as the golden Mount Diablo fairy lantern.