As you go from stop to stop in this tour, you’ll learn stories that lie behind the landscape of California's Mount Diablo State Park. You’ll re-live the times when grizzlies ruled and mountain man Jedediah Smith visited. You’ll hear tales of the mining era in the 1860s and the historic fire of 1977. You’ll learn about the language of ground squirrels, the migrations of ladybugs, and the territories of tarantulas. You’ll encounter some amazing trees, among them a Coulter pine—the species with the world’s heaviest pinecones—and a coast live oak that’s been here at least since the American Revolution. You’ll admire a member of the agave family with so many uses it’s called the “grocery store” plant and—if you listen carefully—you’ll hear the cackling call of an acorn woodpecker. The tour concentrates on plants and animals a visitor can see in any season. But there’s also an optional introduction to wildflowers, in case you’re lucky enough to be here in the spring. The tour starts at the Mitchell Canyon parking lot and visitor center. It makes 12 stops—mostly at signposts marked with numbers--on a gentle walk up Mitchell Canyon Road.
A two-mile stroll along a creek on Mount Diablo’s lush north side, led by Sue Donecker, Ken Lavin, Rich McDrew, Jim Mitchell, and Yulan Tong. Presented by Mount Diablo Interpretive Association First published in 2012, revised in 2017 Music from Banks of the River by Phil Heywood. Photos by Scott Hein (and others mentioned in closing credits) Narration and production by Joan Hamilton, Audio Guides to the Outdoors