Sure Mount Diablo makes a great place to watch a sunrise. The only problem? The gates don’t open until 8:00 a.m. A good alternative? The East Bay’s Wildcat Canyon Regional Park
—where on clear days early risers will be rewarded with views of the sun casting its first rays over Diablo. Bring a flashlight and head for Wildcat’s sweeping ridge-top. The quickest way is on the Clark-Boas Trail, accessed via a hidden trailhead tucked into the northern corner of the park. Begin a steady half-mile ascent, and watch your step, cows and horses enjoy the solitude here too! Connect to the San Pablo Ridge Trail, walking in the direction of the dimly lit, southeast sky. At 1.5 miles, the trail reaches its 1,057-foot peak, marked by an old wooden bench that looks out towards mid-winter’s frame. Set your eyes east and watch as the sun crests over the horizon. After a few minutes, shift your gaze west and enjoy views of San Francisco’s skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. What a sun time!
To reach the trailhead, take exit 18 off of I-80 and head west on San Pablo Dam Rd. After passing the commercial strip, take a right on Clark Rd., and follow it uphill to the trailhead parking area. Hike up the Clark-Boas Trail and turn left onto the San Pablo Ridge Trail. The featured vantage point is at mile 1.5 of the hike, but any of the ridgeline high-points will work. For a five-mile-loop hike, continue on the San Pablo Ridge Trail to the next trail intersection. Turn left to follow Old Nimitz Way back to the San Pablo Ridge Trail. Retrace your steps to the parking area. Dog-friendly!