It was a gorgeous Saturday, and my hiking buddy had routed out a new adventure hike for us: Black Diamond Mines. This Regional Preserve is an East Bay Park, comprised of rolling hills and scattered oak trees near Antioch, California.
We purposely chose a date in March to explore Black Diamond Mines. It turned out this was the perfect time to hike this area for multiple reasons: wildflowers, lack of rattlesnakes, and decent temperatures. Because of the lack of tree coverage, I could see how this area would be a difficult hike in the heat of summer.
From where we parked our car, we trekked up and down multiple hills, opened gates, passed among herds of cows, and visited abandoned mine shafts. There were multiple sites of old mining towns with literature posted about these sites. I don’t consider myself a history-buff, but it was all very interesting. The park map we acquired at the trail head was helpful, but the crossroads on the hike weren’t marked perfectly. We struggled with directions at some intersections.
This hike is most suitable for adults and young strong hikers. It might not be a good option for really young children due the length of the hike and the overall terrain. Exploring the mine shafts is fun, but it is quite a trek to get to these locations.
If you decide to go on this hike, I would make a few suggestions of items to bring: a head-lamp, a decent hiking GPS service to assist you, and plenty of water. Be sure to map out your hike before you go. And, be sure your cellphone is well-charged. Our hike drained our batteries, mostly because we were using our phones to assist with mapping our location.
We covered about thirteen miles on our trek, and we loved every minute of the hike. Depending on where you live in the San Francisco Bay, it may take some time to drive there, but it is well worth the effort.