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
Car (Drive up)
Although this hike doesn’t actually go to the summit of Mt. Wittenberg it does visit a very interesting interior area of Pt. Reyes National Seashore. Strong hikers with a fog free day ahead of them may wish to add Wittenberg’s view to the day’s agenda, as there are a couple of access points to the Mt. Wittenberg Trail from this hike.
Take the Morgan Trail past the horse ranch from the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Entering the dense woods, giant ferns, a variety of berry bushes, vibrant yellow monkey flower, wood mint and many other shade tolerant plants including the not-so-welcoming stinging nettle line the pathway. Trail signs are at key junctions distantly spaced apart. Morgan Trail merges with Horse Trail then becomes Sky Trail. A few miles in, reach Sky Camp where camping is allowed with advance reservations. It’s a good place to stop for lunch, as there are restrooms and picnic tables available. Most of the elevation gain is now done.
Sky Trail continues for a short climb, and at one point passes under majestic towering examples of elderberry bushes closing high over the path. The next trail junction is with the Old Pine Trail. Steep sided canyons, deer browsing, views on clear days below to meadows, and numerous fallen trees with gigantic roots still attached to trunks displaying beautiful shell and other fungi will make hiking here an experience close to nature. It’s an easy remaining return as the Old Pine Trail joins the wide fire road “Bear Valley Trail” and you continue left along the lovely creek side supporting a wide variety of wildflowers to the trail head. It’s a great hike with gentle ups and downs that doesn’t seem to be as difficult as the miles might suggest. Do come prepared for wind and rain as the area weather can change quickly into heat robbing conditions even in mid summer.