Oakland, CA: Stewartville Backpackers Camp, Black Diamond Mines - Backpacker

Oakland, CA: Stewartville Backpackers Camp, Black Diamond Mines

Backpack into California’s history to Stewartville Backpackers Camp, when Black Diamond Mines was the largest coal mining operation in the San Francisco East Bay Hills.
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Enjoy the backcountry feel of the golden Bay Area hills to Stewartville Backpackers Camp. This easy overnight is great for beginning backpackers or families wanting to test out their backpacking skills. BY MELISSA AVERY, Chasqui Mom

Trip Stats
Distance: 6.47 miles (3.2 miles to campsite)
Time: Overnight Backpacking (with Children) – Moving Time: 3 Hours 45 minutes
Distance from San Francisco: 50 minutes
More Information: East Bay Regional Park District - Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve


  1. Backpacking Permit Fee: Ages 16-Over $5/night/person. 15-under FREE with adult. Plus $8 Reservation Fee. Stewartville Camp holds up to 20 people.
  2. Check-in: 2:00 p.m, Call ahead on reserved dates to speak with the Ranger and check in at the Visitor Center. No need to Check-Out, but check out is noon.
  3. Stewartville Camp is closed from November to Spring. Camping is limited to two (2) nights during open season. Make sure to print and carry your paper reservation.
  4. Water: There is a water trough for horses and technically can be treated filtered for human drinking purposes, but it is best to BRING YOUR OWN WATER.
  5. For Families: This a great a great location to try “Family Backpacking,” there are pit toilets and picnic tables at the campsite.


Mile 0.0: After checking-in at the Park Headquarters, Railroad Bed Trail starts at the opposite end of the parking lot at the cow gate.
0.9: Arrive at the Upper Parking Lot and continue through the parking lot to where the pit toilets and water are located. Head to the opposite end of the parking lot to continue on the trail. [OPTIONAL: For a shorter route overall, reduce trek by 1.6 miles (4.87 miles roundtrip) by shuttling backpackers to the upper parking lot.]
1.0: Turn left on Stewartville Trail for a slight uphill hike to the highest elevation of the trek (about 1,130 ft).
1.7: Walk through the cow gate, continue on Stewartville Trail, slight right. There will be one large switchback. Enjoy the views of former Stewartville Valley and Mt. Diablo.
2.0: At the T-Intersection of Stewartville Trail and Miners Trail, turn right and continue on Stewartville Trail. The remaining of the trek is on Stewartville Trail (downhill or flat) to Stewartville Backpackers Camp.
3.3: Arrive at Stewartville Campground, on the right hand side of the trail. The campground is surrounded by fence. Setup camp and enjoy the and East Bay sunset and night.

3.3: Turn left on Stewartville Trail (retracing steps) from the campground.
3.8: Turn right on Miners Trail for a steady uphill hike with great sweeping views of Stewartville townsite and keep an eye out for former coal mining “ruins”.
4.5: At the Y-Intersection, turn right on Stewartville Trail back to the summit/cow gate.
4.8: Arrive at the summit/cow gate and continue on Stewartville Trail.
5.4: Turn right at Railroad Bed Trail all the way back to the Park Headquarters Parking Lot.


  1. Learn about all the Bay Area Indians, coal mining, sand mining and ranching history of Black Diamond Mines at the Park Headquarters Visitor Center and learn the differences of the regional reptiles.
  2. Enjoy great golden California sunsets with the sounds of coyotes off in the distance.
  3. Springtime Backpacking: Brings cooler weather and many wildflowers.

Family Backpacking

Temp: 85 F Sunny (Day)/50 F (Night)
Who: Two Adults, two toddlers
Family Gear: One backpacking backpack, one framed kid carrier, hiking poles & backpacking gear
Food: LOTS! Dinner – Backpacker Recipe: Cheesy Sausage Pasta, Breakfast – Dehydrated Meal, Snacks – Fruit Squeeze Packs, Nuts, Cheese

Trail Facts

  • State: CA
  • City: Oakland
  • Distance: 0.0
  • Land Type: Other

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