Knobcone to Oyster Point Hike
Reprinted from MDIA Newsletter November 2023
By Steve Smith
Oyster Point is a special treat as it is a remote destination packed full of adventure and scenic beauty. With the opening of Knobcone Point Road (through Save Mount Diablo’s Curry Canyon Ranch property) the opportunity for a proper loop hike abounds, yet this is not for the faint of heart. This hike is about 11 miles with 2,200 feet of elevation gain and Fall is a good time to do it while the weather is cool and before heavy rains (and mud) come.
Starting from Curry Point we meander along Knobcone Point Road eventually making our way to Balancing Rock, a seemingly gravity-defying bit of Domengine sandstone. Just beyond you will pass through the gate and onto SMD property. (Please use the boot cleaning station before continuing.) The next 1.25 miles takes you through a lovely knobcone pine forest, through deep-shaded, rock-lined canyons, and across open grasslands. Views of the Summit and North Peak abound. Find another park gate which deposits you at the top of Riggs Canyon Road. This is a very steep descent into Riggs Canyon with expansive views of the southeastern side of the park including neighboring Morgan Territory Regional Preserve.
At the end of Riggs Canyon, you’ll head right along Old Finley Road until you find the single-track Oyster Point Trail on the right. Winding ups and downs take you through Jackass Canyon on a pleasantly shady 2-mile journey to the Oyster Point turnoff. A signpost marks a trail up the hillside to the actual point, however, once you enter the chapparal up top the path is less obvious and you must hunt for the signpost. It is hidden off to the right, tucked in an alcove of chamise and black sage. Be sure to investigate the rocks around it, you will see the fossilized oysters for which it gets its name.
Retrace your steps back down to the main trail and continue, admiring the views of Cave Rocks and Cave Point in the foreground. After another 1.3 miles you will find Blackhawk Ridge Road heading to the right and then steeply down. Continue along the road until you pop back up onto Knobcone Point Road and on back to Curry Point.