Make ’em into Mountain Climbers

Ever gaze up at the clouds finding hidden pictures? What if the pictures were a little closer to earth? 3,948 feet from the valley floor, Mt. Diablo’s Rock City has some of the most surreal-looking sandstone formations you’ll find in the Bay, and walking among these strange rocks, you and the kids are likely to find resemblances to more familiar things. Like camels, turtles, elephants, or perhaps a long-tailed mythical dragon?
What to do: When they’re not busy climbing boulders or observing their distinctive shapes, the kids will enjoy climbing in and out of Rock City caves shaped by wind and time. Most of Mt. Diablo was under water 50 million years ago, and you may even find some ancient ocean fossils embedded in the stone.
While you’re here, stop by Mt. Diablo’s Summit Museum, Art Gallery, Observation Deck, or Overlook, or wander among a series of trails, several of which are under a mile long and take you on a tour of the rocks. Sentinel Rock is a must-see highlight. You’ll notice it towering high, with some makeshift stairs carved into the trail leading up to the summit. It’s an easy enough climb, though you’ll want to keep the little ones close at hand. At the top of the Sentinel, you’ll take in a view of all of Rock City and the surrounding mountain. How’s that for inspiration?
—Renee Rutledge