Devil's PulpitThe Devil's Pulpit is a prominent outcropping of reddish radiolarian chert on the east side of Mt. Diablo. It is easy to get to from the Fire Interpretive Trail or you can get there from the turnout called the Devil's Elbow from the Main Road or from the summit or North Peak Trails. It requires just a bit of scrambling to get to the top of it, so it is a short but rewarding outing suitable for kids learning how to rock climb. The views from the top are incredible!
The hard red Franciscan chert that makes up the Devils pulpit is a metamorphic rock that is sedimentary in origin and rich in microscopic radiolaria fossils. It forms impressive layers and beds. When surrounding rocks are eroded away a monolith of hard erosion-resistant chert like Devils Pulpit may appear.
I think it's also interesting is that in Russian chert means devil.
As a bonus, if you go in the springtime you'll see lots of flowers blooming in the area including wild mustard, Indian Warrior, Brewer's Rock Cress, and many others.
About midway on the 0.7 mile Fire Interpretive or Mary Bowerman Trail which encircles the summit Mt. Diablo you will see the Devil's Pulpit just east of the trail. It is an easy scramble to the top from here.
Two other approaches: From the summit of Mt. Diablo there is a use trail going about 1/2 mile east and down to the Devil's Pulpit.
From the turnout on the main road below the summit referred to as the Devil's Elbow, also where the North Peak Trail starts, you can follow a use trail about 1/2 mile northwest and up to the Pulpit.
You will pay a Day Use fee of $6 to enter Mt. Diablo State Park. No hiking permits are needed. Please practice Leave No Trace ethics. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the park. Dogs are allowed in campgrounds and parking areas but not on trails. Off-road vehicles are prohibited. Bicycles are allowed on paved and dirt roads and designated trails. Firearms and fireworks are prohibited. Campfires are allowed in provided barbeques and fire pits during certain times of the year. Inquire at the visitor center or ranger station for more information.
Juniper Campground is nice campground with 36 sites just a short distance away down the main road. The fee is $15 per night in the winter, $20 in the summer. There are picnic tables, fire rings, water spigots, bathrooms with showers, and incredible views from select campground sites. The sites are designed for tents or small RV's up to 20 feet. There are no hookups or dump stations in the park. You can make camping reservations at www.reserveamerica.com
Further down the road are Junction and Live Oak Campgrounds which tend to be a little less busy than Juniper.
Mt. Diablo State Park
Fire Interpretive Trail Photos
Mary Bowerman Trail Guide
Mt. Diablo geology and Devils Pulpit Chert
Mt. Diablo Geology Guide
Plants of Mt. Diablo State Park