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Mt. Diablo After Dark

Old 01-10-11, 11:36 PM
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Mt. Diablo After Dark

Is it safe? Is it legal? Has anyone done it?
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Old 01-11-11, 12:01 AM
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Is it safe? Is this a trick question? Of course it isn't.

Is it legal? I doubt it.

Has anyone done it? Almost certainly. Doesn't make it a good idea.


Of course, I'm alergic to pain, so I may not be your best source.
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Old 01-11-11, 12:08 AM
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If a group ride with headlights and stuff is organized in a significantly regulated manner, it could definitely work out.

Most people don't think night mountain bike rides are safe at all but I do several after 10pm with groups I've ridden with. Fun stuff. Descending might be risky.
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Old 01-11-11, 01:10 AM
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once the gates are closed, you're not allowed to enter the park (so you'd need to already be in the park by sunset) until 8:00am the next morning.

No vehicles are allowed on the roads in the park after sunset - I assume that includes bicycles (of course I could be wrong!). I have been still descending as the sun sets - but since I was clearly heading out of the park, the ranger closing the gate just waved as I rode by.

The only exception I'm aware of is the Devil Mountain Double - they get a special permit so that participants can climb Mt. D in the dark the morning of the ride. I know a couple of people who were talked to by a ranger for jumping the gate before 8:00am on other days.

This summer I intend to camp on the mountain with my kids so we can ride or hike up to the summit for sunrise. I'm not sure what they do if you're camping and head out for a night time ride.

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Old 01-11-11, 01:33 AM
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You are not supposed to enter the park once the gates are closed. Bicycle are however tolerated, probably not officially. I jumped the gate several times when I arrived a bit early, and once when the ranger alarm clock didn't work (he was half an hour late). The rangers never said anything to me when they passed me up the road.
Unless you have a camping permit I don't think they will let you in the park at sunset. If they see you descending they will let you go but they will also wait for you at the gate. They will probably be very upset if you take to much time or decide to stay up there because they will eventually drive back up the mountain to find you.
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Old 01-11-11, 10:19 AM
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I got caught after dark on the roads coming down after climbing up the mtb trails. We had lights and everything but a ranger in a patrol truck stopped us, gave us a lecture, and ran our IDs through the cops to see if we had any warrants.

It might be OK if you have a camping permit and are just riding around inside the park.

And if you're on a trail I don't think they'd ever notice - I've never seen a ranger on Burma, Mitchell Canyon, Stage Coach, or Wall Point.
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Old 01-11-11, 03:45 PM
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I enjoy the Nor Cal group and all their exploits(?) but this one put me to thinking, so I thought I would add my sense to riding in Mt. Diablo after dark. The State Parks system is subject to budget cuts as we all know. And keeping this in mind, you just might encounter park employees after hours who may show no sympathy to your quest for an after hours biking experience. Remember the signs that state you are responsible to knowing Park rules? If they are letting you slide on some park rules, that may change with the "less is better" budget we may see all to soon.

Secondly, if enough riders use or misuse the park against park rules, it might backfire for the rest of the riding population that wants to use the park during normal hours. The last thing any of use would want would be less access to the park. Wouldn't you agree? Let's keep the park workers happy, so future generations of cyclist can keep access to the park.

I'll step off the soap box now. Thanks.
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Old 01-11-11, 04:19 PM
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Very good points todman.
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Old 01-11-11, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
...And if you're on a trail I don't think they'd ever notice - I've never seen a ranger on Burma, Mitchell Canyon, Stage Coach, or Wall Point.
Neither have I. But i have seen some amazing critters out there. Here kitty, kitty, kitty
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Old 01-12-11, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by BenRidin
Neither have I. But i have seen some amazing critters out there. Here kitty, kitty, kitty
raaoow

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Old 01-12-11, 01:07 AM
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Meowww...

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Old 01-12-11, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by gpelpel
Very good points todman.
+1 on what todman said.

Cautionary Tale:

I climbed Northgate road as high as the junction last summer in the dark.

It was a balmy summer night and I know that road like the back of my hand.
It was still a very difficult descent even with my good lights.

You just can't imagine how hard a technical descent is in the dark.
I found it scary stuff when you can't see very far ahead or around the bend.
I was on the brakes and glued to the yellow line for guidance the whole time.
It was nerve racking. I am just glad it was a warm night so I didn't have cold to deal with too.

And... I got greeted at the bottom at the park gate by a ranger who gave me a good talking too.

I won't be trying that stunt again.
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Old 01-12-11, 12:24 PM
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Is it safe: Not really.
Is it legal: No.
Has anyone done it:Yes.
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Old 01-12-11, 12:46 PM
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The big question is:
Do they open the gates for the ambulance, or does the helicopter land in the dark?
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Old 01-12-11, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Lanceoldstrong
I climbed Northgate road as high as the junction last summer in the dark.
That's not Junction.
Descending in thick fog is about the same as descending in the dark - no matter how well you know the road you lose perspective.
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Old 01-12-11, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
That's not Junction.
He didn't claim it was. All he said was that he went as high as the Junction. The picture could be from anywhere. Personally, I think the lights in the photo are UFO's. That would explain a lot about Dan.
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Old 01-12-11, 08:17 PM
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I haven't done it in several years, but we used to climb to the junction on Full Moon nights during the summer. You didn't need lights going up and I didn't think the descent was all that scary. We were careful on the descents but not super slow.
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Old 01-12-11, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman
He didn't claim it was. All he said was that he went as high as the Junction. The picture could be from anywhere. Personally, I think the lights in the photo are UFO's. That would explain a lot about Dan.
Come to think of it, he does have that "looking for the Mother Ship" look in his eyes more often than not . . . .
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Old 01-12-11, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by cccorlew
The big question is:
Do they open the gates for the ambulance, or does the helicopter land in the dark?
In either case, the next question is: Do they load you up first and then point and laugh at you, or do they point and laugh first and then load you up?
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Old 01-13-11, 10:03 PM
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I feel strangely compelled to subscribe to this thread. It's gold, justin, gold!

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Old 01-13-11, 11:15 PM
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Sounds like a party!

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Old 01-13-11, 11:24 PM
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The only time it is legal to drive at night is going back down in a caravan form to exit the park after a Public Star Party, when a group of amateurs astronomers observe from the lower parking lot (at the top) which is once a month between March and October.

Sometimes the fog can be horrendous often right below the summit.

https://www.mdas.net/
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Old 01-13-11, 11:47 PM
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Here you go, once a month you can ride MD at night on special invitation from MDAS.
Only requirement is that you stay in their telescope field of view.

Originally Posted by bikingshearer
Come to think of it, he does have that "looking for the Mother Ship" look in his eyes more often than not . . . .
Of course Dan already knew that.


Last edited by gpelpel; 01-14-11 at 12:20 AM.
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Old 01-14-11, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by gpelpel
Here you go, once a month you can ride MD at night on special invitation from MDAS.
Only requirement is that you stay in their telescope field of view.


Of course Dan already knew that.

which one is Dan?
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Old 01-14-11, 09:22 AM
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Another photo from the folly of Diablo at night.
The face of my cohort is obscured to protect his identity.
Notice, no jacket and unzipped jersey, a beautiful warm night.
This spring I am thinking about a 3 Bears Night Ride on a full moon.
Legal? Yes. Safe....... ???
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