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Concord, California

Mount Diablo's Grand Loop

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Circle a Signal Peak

Mount Diablo's one of the defining landforms of the Bay Area, a 3,849-foot peak famous for its regional prominence and the killer views its summit serves up. The Grand (or Summit) Loop Trail makes a 6.5-mile circumambulation of Diablo, offering spectacular scenery and an unbeatable introduction to the mountain's ecology. There's some amazing botanical variety on tap--chaparral thickets, oak and laurel groves, pine savannas--and the opportunity to spot anything from songbirds and snakes to coyotes and red-tailed hawks.

A clear day in wintertime is just about unbeatable for tackling the Grand Loop: The skyline panorama can include faraway peaks of the Sierra Nevada as well as the Cascade crown of Mount Lassen, especially visible this time of year given their snowpack.

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