The Inquirer

Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

An+acorn+woodpecker+on+the+Nature+Trail+in+John+Muir+Land+Trust.+%28Pavlina+Markova%2FThe+Inquirer%29.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

An acorn woodpecker on the Nature Trail in John Muir Land Trust. (Pavlina Markova/The Inquirer).

An acorn woodpecker on the Nature Trail in John Muir Land Trust. (Pavlina Markova/The Inquirer).

Pavlina Markova

An acorn woodpecker on the Nature Trail in John Muir Land Trust. (Pavlina Markova/The Inquirer).

Pavlina Markova

Pavlina Markova

An acorn woodpecker on the Nature Trail in John Muir Land Trust. (Pavlina Markova/The Inquirer).

Pavlina Markova, Staff member

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






There are many hidden natural gems around the Pleasant Hill campus at Diablo Valley College that a lot of people don’t know about. Many of these places are so close to the campus that it is possible to visit them during a longer break or when classes get canceled, and even those that are farther are well worth a visit after classes as they provide a quiet and relaxing environment to go for a short walk and clear one’s mind. One of such short walks can bring students to Mount Helen and Mount Wanda on a 2.7 miles long lollipop-loop.

Mount Helen and Mount Wanda are two peaks in near proximity of DVC, protected by John Muir Land Trust and owned by the National Parks Service. Students can reach those peaks on a short hike starting from Mount Wanda Trailhead.

“(It’s a) beautiful hike through old growth bay and oak forests (with) beautiful vistas throughout of distant hills and farmland,” wrote Elizabeth Donovan, a member of AllTrails community in her trail review.

Leaving from campus, students can reach the trailhead by car in only 10 minutes, making this a good hike to take during long breaks between classes. In spring, the trails welcome hikers with rolling green hills and the songs of songbirds. The trails are also a popular bird-watching area with species like acorn woodpeckers, nuthatches and red-shouldered hawks frequenting the hills.

The trails are great for hiking, running or biking as well, although Laurie Green, a member of AllTrails community writes in her review of the trail that it “starts off a little steep for beginners.”

From Mount Wanda Trailhead, hikers should follow Main Fire Trail for .6 miles, then turn right on John Muir Nature Trail. This single trail follows the contour line of Mt Helen for about half a mile before starting to ascent at a little steeper grade. Students will walk in the shade of oaks native to this area, hear the typical drum of Acorn Woodpeckers, and have the chance to catch a glimpse of those birds.

After .95 miles, John Muir Trail will bring students to the top of Mount Helen. Both Mount Helen and Mount Wanda offer beautiful views of Mount Diablo, the Carquinez Strait, and Briones Regional Park.

To get to Mount Wanda, hikers should then take a right turn and follow the trail for .2 miles. The top of Mount Wanda will be just a few yards off on the left. To get back to the trailhead, hikers should retrace their steps back to the trail crossing and take a right turn to get back on Main Fire Trail and follow it for .8 miles.

Parking at the trailhead is free, and if students wish to bring their dogs, they can do so; all dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times.

The names, Helen and Wanda, don’t belong only to the two peaks. They were also the names of John Muir’s two daughters. John Muir was a man who’d we call an outdoor enthusiast today, a man who founded the Sierra Club focused on conservation, and helped towards establishing America’s National Parks. Wanting to show his daughters the beauty of the outdoors, he brought them with him on many hikes during their time living in Martinez. Muir often used to bring the girls up the same trails that wind through the hills today, and students can follow their steps as they make their way to the peaks.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Contributor
Pavlina Markova, Staff member

Staff member, spring 2019

Leave a Comment

By commenting, you give The Inquirer permission to quote, reprint or edit your words. Comments should be brief, have a positive or constructive tone, and stay on topic. If the commenter wants to bring something to The Inquirer’s attention, it should be relevant to the DVC community. Posts can politely disagree with The Inquirer or other commenters. Comments should not use abusive, threatening, offensive or vulgar language. They should not be personal attacks or celebrations of other people’s tragedies. They should not overtly or covertly contain commercial advertising. And they should not disrupt the forum. Editors may warn commenters or delete comments that violate this policy. Repeated violations may lead to a commenter being blocked. Public comments should not be anonymous or come from obviously fictitious accounts. To privately or anonymously bring something to the editors’ attention, contact them.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Left
  • Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

    Features

    Shelly Pierson jogs discussion about mental and physical health

  • Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

    Features

    Mass text reminds students of a safety resource

  • Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

    Features

    Sexual assault awareness brought to light at DVC workshop

  • Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

    Features

    Professor Mickey Huff draws audience in the fight against fake news

  • Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

    Features

    DVC alumnus Evan Lowe finds the secrets of life in a chocolate chip cookie

  • Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

    Features

    DVC comic contest help forge new chapters in art students’ career

  • Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

    Features

    Behind the Scenes with ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

  • Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

    Advice

    Are online textbooks a force for good?

  • Features

    Umoja Student Panel

  • Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus

    Features

    Climbers gather to send routes and sip coffee at Touchstone Climbing Series competition

Navigate Right
The student news site of Diablo Valley College.
Mt. Wanda and Mt. Helen; the hidden hiking gems near campus