Campsite review: Juniper Campground, Mt Diablo State Park, CA


Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd

Danville, CA

Take Highway 680 to Danville. Take Diablo Road exit, then 3 miles east to Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd.

Date of visit:

August 2008


It was perfect while we were there; it was in the high 70s while we were setting up with an overnight low of 71F. The morning warmed up quickly, though, and my thermometer showed 90F in the direct sunlight at 8:30am.
NOTE: The East Bay can get very hot — dangerously so — in summer, so bring tons of water.  In winter, the park can get snowed in. For current mountain weather conditions, call the park at (925) 383-9225.

NOTE2: During the summer, Mt Diablo State Park has very strict fire restrictions depending on the fire danger level. We camped during a "high" fire danger level, so charcoal and propane cookfires were allowed, but no wood fires (even in the fire pit). In severe cases, the park itself closes completely, so if you camp in the summer, definitely call ahead to find out the fire danger level.

Campground Condition:

* The campsites are large and well-spaced apart. Our campsite, #23, was in a little nook surrounded by trees and shrubs and felt very private.

* Many of the campsites have fairly significant slopes. We were able to flatten out a small area for our tent, but do be aware that you'll likely be at some angle. We positioned our tent so our heads were up and had no problems sleeping.

* Some of the Juniper campsites have tremendous views overlooking the valley. These sites go quickly, though, and it's first-come, first-serve. If you want a campsite with a view, go early!
* Each site has a fire pit with metal grill, a picnic table, a food locker, and a place to park. There were water faucets every few campsites.

* There is a lot of wildlife at this park, especially raccoons! Do not leave food out overnight. The food lockers will keep the raccoons out but they'll be scratching at the doors all night. If you have a car, that's probably your best bet for overnight food storage.

* The bathrooms are currently being renovated, so the showers and some of the toilet rooms were closed.  The bathroom building was fairly clean (though the whole area is very dusty, so you do have to deal with dirt on the toilet seats) and had flush toilets, two outdoor sinks, and a drinking fountain. All of the toilets had run out of TP in the morning, so you may want to bring your own!

* I don't know whether you can normally buy firewood at the ranger station; as we camped during a fire ban, there were no wood campfires allowed.

What to do:

There are tons of walking and bicycling trails at the park, way too many to list here.
The most popular "official" trail is the Mary Bowerman Trail. From the website: "Just below the summit, this trail offers spectacular vistas that can be enjoyed along the way. The first half of the gentle 0.7-mile loop trail is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. Pick up a copy of the trail Nature Guide at the trailhead"

There are also a lot of fire roads near the campsites.  We camped right next to fire road 59-10 and had a wonderful time wandering along that at sunset. 

In addition to trails, the park has many other activities, including but not limited to:
  • Rock climbing
  • Fossil sites 
  • Summit museum (open every day from 10am-4pm) 
  • Observation Deck at the summit 
  • Interpretive centers 

My photos:

Campsite #23:


Our campsite with all the stuff in it:


A sunset hike along fire road 59-10:


Peter, Tony, and Steph with one of our new friends along 59-10 (we saw 3 tarantulas on that walk):


Nighttime view of Silicon Valley:


We had many nighttime visitors!


Peter and I at the Observation Deck in the morning:


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