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Length 12 miles
Time 4 hours
Total Climb 3100 feet
Fun Rating
Scenic Rating
Aerobic Difficulty
Technical Difficulty 

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Mount Diablo (Oyster Point Trail)

There are only a handful of bike-legal singletrack trails in Mount Diablo State Park. These trail segments are scattered across the park and most are quite short. Oyster Point Trail is the longest one of these stretches, as far as I know, at 3.5 miles long. This ride follows an out-and-back route aimed at riding this trail. Since it's an out-and-back route, it traverses the trail twice, yielding a pretty high precentage of singletrack mileage for a Mount Diablo ride.

The suggested parking spot at which I'm pointing on your left is in a roadside pocket right at the trailhead for the ride on South Gate Road, called "Curry Point". There is space for about 20 cars there. I've only done this ride twice but, in both cases, the area was essentially empty when I showed up around 9:00 AM on a Saturday morning, and still had some spots available at the time I ended my ride a few hours later.

I should also add that you reach the trailhead of this ride after you drive through the entrance of the state park, meaning you'll have to pay the entrance fee to drive all the way there. This fee is $10 at the time I write this. I'm all for feeling happy about supporting our local parks by paying to park inside them, but in case the entrance fee or the parking availability discourages you from parking at the indicated trailhead, you won't have too many alternatives other than biking your way up South Gate Road from somewhere in Danville.

Oyster Point Trail is a narrow singletrack. As far as bike-legal East Bay singletrack trails go (a small set), it's a very good one. Parts of it are of relatively advanced difficulty level, mainly due to the narrowness of these segments that follow steep hillsides. Other than that, it's not a high-difficulty trail, though it's still quite twisty and fun. Any difficulty of the trail will be felt mainly in terms of physical effort. This is a strenuous ride. The trail descends more as you head east. Unfortunately, this also means that you'll be doing more of the climbing on your way back (about 800 feet more than you do in the first half of the ride). Moreover, the trail crosses the ravines of two small tributary creeks and does so with a steep, though short, descent followed by a similarly short and steep climb on the other side, in both cases. At least the climbing portions of these two sharp dips are likely to constitute hike-a-bike segments for mere mortals. The trail also crosses (I believe) the main branch of Tassajara Creek near its eastern end, which was dry in August, but the approaches of that crossing are not as steep.

The ride includes a 2.5-mile fire-road segment that acts as the approach to (and return from) Oyster Point Trail. This portion pretty much matches what anyone would expect from an East Bay fire-road ride; meaning, a non-technical, wide dirt path with plenty of steep sections, often for no apparent good reason. This was especially true on my ride where the current photos were taken, because these fire roads were freshly graded at the time.

I've heard from a rider who's more experienced in riding these parts that Oyster Point Trail is not very ridable during the height of summer due to star thistle infestation on the open portions of the trail near its eastern end (unless you don't mind scratches on your arms and legs), and during the rainiest months (January to March) due to the sticky mud that lingers on the many shady stretches of the ride. My first ride here was in non-compliance with the first of these two warnings, but the "thorny situation" wasn't very noticeably worse than that on many other sunny trails in the Bay Area. Still, these two factors are good caveats to keep in mind when planning your ride here.

If you're interested in riding here repeatedly or going around exploring unfamiliar trails outside of the route highlighted here, you should get yourself a copy of the printed park map, which has incomparably more detail than the PDF park map linked to on your left, in addition to detailing where the few bike-legal singletrack stretches are. This excellent map by the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association can be purchased at any of the visitor centers at the park or online. (I'm not affiliated with that association and don't benefit from the sales of that map in any way.)

© Ergin Guney


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