I’ve been coming to this place for years. This is literally the best place to see a sunset of “The Bay”. There are a lot of trails for hiking. However the draw back to this place is the amount of cyclists on the narrow and worn out pavement that we call roads. If you are queasy about motion, plan on bringing a plastic bag to vomit in. There are no guard rails, so if your driver isn’t paying attention off you go down the mountain. Once your are settled in, this becomes a very peaceful and enjoyable campsite. One other thing, no matter how hot it is you’ll never be able to escape the howling winds at night. Good tent stakes and warm gear is a must.
We hiked up to Juniper campground from the Clayton side. The sites in the teens have less overhead shade but more privacy than those of higher numbers. The sites closest to the driving road/entrance/overlook will have the potential to be downwind of the bathroom, unfortunately.
The campground is a dry campground - as in no alcohol.
That said, we loved our site #15, and enjoyed the privacy it provided, plus the views (if you stand on the table or are tall). We didn't encounter critters. We had some trouble staking down on the rocky dirt.
This is a good campground to explore the rest of the summit areas, plus Rock City.
Throughout the Eastbay, you won't find a more instantly recognizable location from such incredible distances as Mount Diablo. While the shoulders of this giant mountain are broad and sloping, don't be fooled, the plethora of hiking trails can be quite difficult and steep in some places. Mount Diablo can best be accessed by getting off of HWY 680 at either the Los Cerros or Diablo Road exits and weaving through Danville's eastern side, meandering through snake-like turns in an incredibly picturesque countryside until you reach the 3-way stop near Athenian School. From here, head north and simply follow the zig zag 2-lane mountain hike up to the summit - but watch out for the constant, ever-streaming cyclists who daily make this mad journey up-hill (or whiz down it at ultra-high speeds after reaching the summit).
Located just 5 minutes past the Park Ranger's entrance, you'll come across the first of 2 campgrounds - Live Oak - which is positioned within walking distance from one of the funnest areas of Mount Diablo - Rock City. Here the kids (OK, the adults too!), can scale and crawl around all sorts of amazing jutting rock formations. Once atop, you'll command sweeping views, in any direction, of the entire Eastbay. The campground itself is somewhat basic and is not that much of a draw, other than being a really convenient respite from the tons of trails and activities that abound on this mountain. There's a community amphitheater, which leads me to believe that perhaps the Park Rangers lead educational seminars, but none have ever been offered while we've been there.
The best bit about Mount Diablo is that for a 20-25 minute drive up to the campground, you really do feel like you are getting away from it all, and the upside is, well, you're on a mountain, so you've got incredibly great views all the way around - you simply need to do a little bit of homework in terms of which trails to target. Scattered throughout Mount Diablo are really great (especially now during C19) isolated picnic areas and benches to avoid any crowds (which you'll definitely come across either at Rock City or up at the Summit). I highly recommending ascending to the Summit for a 360 degree view of the Eastbay, where on a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, San Pablo Bay as well as even certain peaks at Yosemite.
And while we all love hot dogs and cooked beans, followed by S'mores, the great thing about this campground is it's proximity to civilization. If you get tired (or run out) of campground fare, check out the few restaurants in nearby Blackhawk (turn left after Athenian School) or a myriad of options in Danville (turn right and head back to and past HWY 680), of which I highly recommend Locanda Ravello for old school Italian (ask for Antonio!), Luna Loca for the best Mexican around (for those that appreciate real heat, try anything 'pica'), farm-to-table Harvest or the outdoor patio with live music at Bridges.
Juniper Campground Campsite#16
-Recommend Juniper Campground over Live Oak campground for close views at top.
-It takes ~30-45 minutes to drive from the bottom of the mountain to Juniper Campground depending on the amount of traffic on the mountain.
- Bathrooms: near JC Campsite#24- clean with toilet cover and toilet paper.
- Diablo overlook: spacious- good views for sunset, sunrise, stargazing.
- Food locker: 2x. We used the one beneath the tree- raccoon did not get inside.
- Parking: vehicle fit on roundabot right next to campsite.
- Privacy: secluded by surrounding bushes Spacious: can fit at least two+ tents Trash/Recycling bins: plentiful
- Warm campsite at night - still felt like ~65F+ ~ 11pmPST.
- Water spouts: plentiful
-no shade at campsite until ~5pmPST near picnic table.
-Flies/bees active buzzing at campsite.
-If sitting around picnic table at night, make sure snacks are not out on picnic table, but kept in lap. Raccoon was not shy about jumping on inactive stove top.
-minimal view from campsite#16, tall bushes provide privacy. better view from the overlook.
-windy - woken up ~3AM from strong winds.
We went during the summer and it was very hot. The camp ground did not have much shade. We ended up taking a long hike around 4-5 pm when it started to cool food down. We saw a mix of wildlife. Deer, hawks, wild turkeys. We saw an amazing sunset too.
We camped at the Juniper Campground, 3/4 up the mountain. Register in advance, but it's first-come-first-serve once you get to the campground. We watched the sunset over the Bay Area, whew, it was spectacular. Hiked to the top of the mountain, to the lookout point, on a trail through the woods and brush. We come every year and will continue the tradition in years to come. Oh, btw, because it is fire season, campfires are not allowed. Sorely missed a fire, but appreciate that the mountain will not burn down while we are up there.
The campgrounds on this mountain include picnic tables, grills, bathrooms, and amazing views of the Bay Area. It can get very hot and dry during the summer months, but the sites are shaded by many trees. This mountain has many of hiking trails for various levels of hikers. The summit is just a short drive away from the campgrounds and has a visitor's center that has history of the mountain and the surrounding area.
Make sure that you lock up all food at night as the wildlife is very present and will take advantage of left out food.
Nice drive up the mountain many trails and great views.
Bewhare wiled boars are active at dawn and dusk
This was a great campsite for people that want to go hiking near Berkeley or SF and have a car. They had a good number of spots to camp with grills at each site. Our site had some good trees as well to hang up our hammocks. Great hiking in the area through desert terrain although be ready for some hills. It was very hot on the hikes as their was not much sun coverage. Would definitely recommend. No open fires allowed when we were there because of the dryness of the area.
This is a great camping spot only a short distance from Berkley or San Francisco. The campsites are nothing special and fairly uneven but plenty large and the hiking makes up for it. Each site has a very large stone grill (pictures) and a picnic bench that are in OK condition. There was plenty of space at our site to park 3 cars and put up 4 tents and 3 hammocks so we were very happy we could fit our whole group. It was pretty hot out since it was late in the summer but it got very cold at night and we were happy we had our sleeping bags while sleeping in our hammocks. Right from the campsite there are a few trails you can take and explore the area. My suggestion though is to drive a little ways down the road and do some of the more intense hikes. Make sure to bring lots of water! The best suggestion we got and in my opinion is now a necessity is to take the sunset hike (or sunrise) to the overlook point from the campsite. It is a serious climb but well worth it.