Mount Diablo State Park Is a Popular Place for Recreational Pursuits
Mount Diablo State Park boasts some of the best views in the San Francisco Bay area. “Our visitor center is really popular because it’s at the top of Mount Diablo’s 3‚849-foot summit and has the best views around‚” says Dan Stefanisko‚ supervising ranger at Mount Diablo State Park. “It also has a variety of displays‚ ranging from Native Americans to the animals you might see in the park.” Those animals include deer‚ coyote‚ raccoons‚ lizards‚ snakes‚ birds and even hairy tarantulas. But never fear – though the spiders look menacing‚ they rarely bite. “Their bite is about as potent as a bee sting‚ but they look impressive‚” Stefanisko says with a chuckle. “The tarantulas come out in early fall‚ and people like to see them.” More than 800‚000 visitors flock to Mount Diablo State Park annually to enjoy plants and wildlife‚ camping‚ hiking‚ mountain biking‚ riding horses and stargazing. A volunteer group‚ the Mount Diablo Astronomical Society‚ leads stargazing events once a month. “Mount Diablo State Park is kind of like an island where people can get away from development‚” Stefanisko says. Mount Diablo‚ which is Spanish for “devil‚” got its name in 1806‚ when Spanish soldiers pursuing a group of American Indians‚ were not able to capture them. The bewildered Spaniards thought the devil must have had a hand in the American Indians’ escape so named the thicket “Monte del Diablo.” Anglo settlers later attributed the name to the entire mountain. For trail maps and more information about the park‚ visit www.mdia.org.