State


California

Region

San Francisco
Bay Area

Park

**
Black Diamond


Nearby parks

**
Brushy Peak

*
Los Vaqueros

**
Morgan Territory

**
Mount Diablo

**
Round Valley


Trails in this park

*
Ridge Trail

*
Star Mine Trail

 

The Star Mine Trail


Length 7.3 mi · Climbing 1560 ft
Home > San Francisco Bay Area > Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

The Miners Trail and Deer Valley

Background

The most striking part of Black Diamond Mines are the views of the vast, remote Deer Valley from the top of the Stewartville Trail. This hike starts at the popular main parking lot and descends into the valley. The Star Mine loop adds some variety to the hike.

Click map to show all trails and roads
Part of the Mount Diablo trail map from Redwood Hikes Press (2015)

Click here to see the trailhead location in Google Maps.

Hike description

Start from the main parking lot and head up the paved road toward the Hazel Atlas Mine. Turn left onto the Stewartville Trail.

The trail climbs steadily up to a ridgetop. On reaching the ridge an impressive view of Deer Valley stretches out in front of you. Even more impressive, pretty much the all of the valley and the surrounding hills that's visible from here is part of the park, and the hike will take you through most of it.

Continue straight ahead on the Stewartville Trail. The number of visitors immediately drops off as you start descending.

The Stewartville Trail in Deer Valley

The dirt road levels out at the bottom of the valley and continues through heavily-grazed grasslands. The valley seems somewhat barren and trashed at first, perhaps due to overgrazing and to earlier mining activity, but after the Stewartville townsite it becomes much more attractive as the valley widens into bucolic cattle-dotted fields.

There are two loop options: the Oil Canyon Loop and the Star Mine loop. Although both have some nice scenery, the Lower Oil Canyon Trail has been destroyed by excessive cattle use and isn't very enjoyable. So for this hike we'll use the shorter Star Mine Loop, which is closed off to cattle.

View of the Stewartville Trail and the Deer Valley from the Star Mine Trail

The Star Mine Trail climbs through a small canyon, offering some nice views of the Deer Valley. The trail connects to a road that descends through a strikingly different chaparral-covered landscape, passing Star Mine, an almost unnoticeable hole in the ground.

As an optional excursion on the way back, you can take the Carbondale Trail to the Saddle Trail for some nice views of Antioch. This side of the park feels much different from the remote Deer Valley.

The Stewartville Trail


 

© 2015 David Baselt