If you live in the East Bay and have yet to register for the East Bay Regional Park District Trail Challenge, you can do so here. You can also purchase a membership for the Foundation. We look forward to utilizing the Annual Parking Pass, one of the many benefits of membership. Check out other benefits here.
For our first hike, we chose a loop in Contra Loma and Black Diamond Regional Parks. The loop is 7.7 miles with undulating hills. A great way to spend a few hours.
Once you register for the challenge, you will be able to access trail descriptions, routes, maps, and other information online or through the free mobile app.
As you can tell, the trails follow fire roads and are very exposed, plan accordingly and bring lots of water.
Contra Loma Regional Park in Antioch, California once was home to grizzlies and black bears as well as wolves! They have, unfortunately been driven out as cattle ranchers moved in. Today the park houses a reservoir which is maintained by the Contra Costa Water District. The surrounding lands are property of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Black Diamond Mines has a very rich history. The Chupcan, Volvon, and Ompin Tribes all lived in the area prior to the arrival of Mexican, Spanish, and American settlers. The settlers grazed cattle on the land until they found coal in the area and mining took place from the 1850s to the early 1900s. A few towns sprung up in response to the mining activity; Nortonville, Somersville, Stewartville, West Hartley, and Judsonville all thrived. Eventually, the low quality coal found in the mines no longer was profitable as higher quality coal was discovered in Washington.
The towns dispered and sand miners moved in on the land. Sand was mined until the late 1940s. Then the land became grazing land again.
The park district began acquiring land in the early 1970s and now encompasses most of the mining district.
Visit the Visitor Center for more information or sign up for a cave tour. Visit the park website for more information.