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Mount Diablo Summit Museum and Trailhead

Summit Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94598

History and Culture


The history of Mount Diablo spans thousands of years, with evidence of Native American habitation dating back over 5,000 years. The mountain holds significant cultural and spiritual importance to several indigenous tribes, including the Miwok, Ohlone, and Bay Miwok peoples, who considered it a sacred site. Today, Mount Diablo remains a vital cultural landmark for these tribes, and their legacy is preserved and celebrated at the Mount Diablo Summit Museum.

The Mount Diablo Summit Museum, located at the mountain’s peak, offers visitors a captivating glimpse into the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. The museum showcases exhibits that highlight the area’s Native American history, including artifacts, tools, and artwork that provide insight into the daily lives and traditions of the indigenous peoples who once called this land home. Visitors can also learn about the Spanish and Mexican periods, the California Gold Rush, and the impact of European settlers on the region.

The old stone building atop Mount Diablo’s highest point houses the Summit Visitor Center. The tower was built in the late 1930s out of fossiliferous sandstone blocks quarried from the park. It was renovated in 2010, promotes the park’s cultural and environmental history.

Trailhead and Outdoor Recreation


The Mount Diablo Summit Museum serves as the starting point for various hiking trails that cater to different skill levels, offering visitors an opportunity to explore the park’s stunning landscapes and wildlife. The Summit Trail, which leads to the actual summit of Mount Diablo, is a popular choice for adventurous hikers seeking a challenging ascent. The trek rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Farallon Islands.

For those seeking a more leisurely stroll, Mount Diablo Summit Museum has a wheelchair-accessible trail that winds through the mountain’s lower slopes, offering stunning vistas of the Diablo Valley and the Sacramento Delta. The trail is lined with interpretive signs that provide information about the park’s geology, flora, and fauna, making it an educational and enjoyable experience for all ages.

Preservation and Conservation


Mount Diablo has a long history of preservation and conservation efforts to protect its unique ecosystems and cultural heritage. In 1851, it became one of California’s first state-designated reserves, and it was later established as a state park in 1931. The Mount Diablo Interpretive Association (MDIA), a nonprofit organization, has been instrumental in supporting the park’s conservation and education efforts. The MDIA operates the Mount Diablo Summit Museum, provides funding for research and preservation projects, and conducts educational programs and guided hikes to raise awareness about the park’s natural and cultural resources.



Exhibits record the mountain’s history and portray its majesty. An instructive movie about a rock wall discusses the geological factors that formed the mountain. Panels describe the region’s Native American heritage. A diorama featuring native sounds provides an insight into the park’s ecosystems. A mountain model familiarizes tourists with key park locations. Excellent photography improves the visitor’s experience.

Aside from the exhibitions, the summit museum has a gift store and an audio-visual room. From the lower level entrance to the higher museum floor and viewing roof, an elevator is accessible. Check in at the Welcome Desk on the bottom floor.

Deck of Observation


Visitors can see ancient sea fossils buried in the summit building’s sandstone walls as they ascend the circular stairway to the observation deck. They are reminded of Mt. Diablo’s significance as a survey point in the rotunda. Above the rotunda is a beacon that was historically essential to aviators and is now lit once a year on December 7 in honor of those who died at Pearl Harbor.

Plan Your Visit


  • The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • There is a cost to enter the park. The museum is free to enter.
  • You can phone the park at 922-837-2525 to confirm if the park and museum are both open and to confirm operating hours.

Walnut Creek, California is blessed with some of the area’s most gorgeous parks and playgrounds. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:

  • Shadelands Ranch Museum
  • Lindsay Wildlife Experience
  • Bedford Gallery at Lesher Center for the Arts
  • Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art
  • Mount Diablo Summit Museum and Trailhead
  • Walnut Creek Historical Society
  • Historic Airmail Arrow Acalanes Ridge
  • Blackhawk Museum
  • Museum of the San Ramon Valley
  • The Spirit Of The Old West

All of these wonderful schools are located just a short distance from our historic location at 1261 Locust Street, Number 167 in Walnut Creek! Stop by for a visit anytime!

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