Ken Dyleski helps Save Mount Diablo with mapping and on-the-ground stewardship work. He collaborated on producing the first edition of the Mt. Diablo map published by Save Mt. Diablo. His GPS enabled digital trail map of the Diablo Grand Loop was published on the National Geographic Topo site. He has a California State Certificate in Geographic Information Science from Diablo Valley College.
Mr. Dyleski's previous articles on the outdoors have been published in Sierra magazine, Northern California Explorer, and the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Forests and Woodlands
Start at the junction of Alfred Ave. and Sousa Dr. in Walnut Creek. This location is easily reached from the N. Main exit from 680 N or S. bound. Turn right onto N. Main, then turning left on San Luis Rd. (gas station on corner), left onto Alfred and left again to the dead end at Sousa. Pick up the Sousa Trail by walking up Sousa Dr. to a curve leading left; a trail sign directs you onto the unpaved Sousa Trail on the right. It’s a quick transition to oak wood land and grassy hills, wandering gently under the shady trees and dipping down to cross the creek on a lovely wood footbridge. At the paved service road just ahead, turn left for the short walk up to Larkey Reservoir (actually a large water storage tank). Here, the trail continues on dirt, left of the tank, through a gate marking the entrance to the Acalanes Ridge Open Space.
Our first goal is to explore the Gary Bogue Trail just ahead. The trail honors Bogue, a well known columnist for the Contra Costa Times for many years. He is known for being influential as a local conservationist and open space advocate as well as his afore-mentioned popular wildlife column in the regional newspaper. Gary worked in the capacity of curator for the Lindsay Wildlife Museum for 42 years, located nearby in Walnut Creek.
Back to the trail…..A few feet past the entrance gate, stay left on the wide road leading uphill along a fence line. It’s a brief steep climb. At the second opening in the fence, enter the Gary Bogue Trail marked by a nearby sign and continue now gently uphill. Enjoy the ever more expansive views as the trail contours the hill and then reaches a junction. It’s better to take the more direct left option, leading directly to the wide scenic hill summit at 781 feet. The Carquinez Strait, Mt. Diablo, 12 cities, Las Trampas, Briones and Sibley Regional Parks are a few of the highlights visible from this amazing spot.
Ramble on by descending back the way you came, down to the road and turning left. Continue to the cluster of trail signs. The second sign marks the beginnings of the Ridge Top and the Yarrow trails. Here, enjoy lingering with the expansive views by taking the Ridge Top Trail until it ends at Monarch Ridge Dr., a little over a half mile further along. While hiking, you may notice a single track trail branching off to the right at a sign also marked as the Ridge Top Trail. This narrow trail runs parallel and below the wider trail, through the grassy shady hillside and joining back into the main trail at the trails end. Return by following your path back.