I decided to start off the new year with a waterfall hike since we’ve had so much rain this winter. Last year when I hiked at Castle Rock State Park, because of the drought, there was no water at the waterfall. There are quite a few good hikes around that lead to waterfalls in the winter and spring and I’d like to explore them this year.
I found this hike in my 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles San Francisco book. It’s one of my go to books for new places to hike. And it’s my goal to do every single hike in the book, though some are more accessible from my home in Oakland than others.
So, after a big breakfast, we headed out to Clayton, CA to hike the back side of Mount Diablo State Park. The drive was about 30 minutes and there was a huge cloud hanging over the top of Mount Diablo. I was worried that we would be hiking in the fog, but by the time we arrived at the trail head, the sky had cleared, and there were lots of cars lining the street. It seemed that everyone had the same idea; hike to the waterfalls.
This hike has 3 main waterfalls and the start up the mountain was along Donner Creek and there was quite a bit of water flowing down. After hiking for a short while the trail started climbing, we went from starting out cold to really warm with the effort. The trail went from muddy and flat to steep. The higher we hiked, the more views we saw, looking back toward the Delta we were able to see Antioch and the water beyond. It was beautiful!
When we turned off the main trail onto the waterfall trail, the walking width narrowed a lot. We went from a wide fire trail to a narrow single person footpath. It was tricky passing hikers coming in the opposite direction and one side of the path was the edge of a steep cliff. After a short distance we started hearing the roar of the waterfalls and could see one large one off in the distance. We were inspired to continue and it was flat now so we moved quickly but carefully along the path.
We passed closely by 2 of the smaller waterfalls. The water was so clear and beautiful and crossing the creek was not too bad because the larger rocks were poking out above the water and were easy to step on to cross.
The hike back down went quickly and we looped around to meet back up to the fire trail and head back down to the car. Going down the steep trail was tricky at times but it was warm and sunny and very very green all around us. I would love to come back closer to springtime and look for wild flowers. The waterfalls were amazing!
Will the waterfalls have even more water in the springtime?
Start/end: Regency Road trailhead
Trailnames: Donner Canyon/Falls Trail/Middle Trail/Donner Canyon