The closest TTR view spot on public land is Mount Diablo. Whoever came up with the name must have been a joker. Mount Diablo is towering an imposing 150 ft. above the surrounding land... That's right, the Devil's Mountain is just a hill in an otherwise pretty flat desert area. The top is less than a mile from the main gate of TTR and only 6 miles from the northernmost hangars of TTR. The elevation at the top is roughly the same as the base and you are looking at the base at a steep angle, not perpendicular as is the case from Brainwash Butte. So the view is somewhat limited. But you are much closer and access is very easy. This 2008 panorama was taken from Mount Diablo.
The only time I was approached by TTR security on Mount Diablo was during the return of the last F-117 to TTR in 2008. There was a fairly good size group on the hill for the event, including KLAS TV from Las Vegas. Security came up to get everyone's information but they had no problem with us being there in the first place.
There are two ways to get to Mount Diablo from Hwy 6 between Warm Springs and Tonopah. The easiest way is to take the road that leads to the TTR main gate from the highway at mile marker 13.6, by the blue and white "Sandia Labs" rocket sign (yes, unlike Area 51 TTR actually has a sign by the highway). Take the paved road for almost 20 miles south-east all the way to the TTR gate. Just before the gate a dirt road intersects from the left, heading back north. Take that dirt road for 0.3 miles. Where the dirt road makes a turn a faint two-track dirt road intersects on the right. It leads a little over half a mile to the top of Mount Diablo. Note that a much better dirt road leads to the top from inside the restricted area. The two-track road intersects with it near the top. On your way down be sure to find that turn and do not follow the main dirt road towards the TTR fence.
The last half mile requires 4WD and high clearance. Also, you are driving up in full view of the TTR guard shack. No element of surprise here. If you want to be a bit sneakier you can continue on the main dirt road for another 0.2 miles instead of taking the two-track road uphill. Park by the side of the road (be sure to pull completely off the road). From here it is an easy 0.2 mile hike to the top of the hill.
If you want to be in total stealth mode you can take a different way to get here altogether that avoids the TTR gate. Instead of taking the "rocket road" take a dirt road south from hwy 6 at mile marker 38.7. A sign at the intersection points to Silver Bow and Golden Arrow. Follow the main dirt road for 21 miles to the back (northwest) side of Mount Diablo and hike to the top. The road is well maintained and suitable for any car but there may be some powdery patches.
|Hwy 6, Golden Arrow turnoff||N38° 8.979'||W116° 34.779'|
|Hwy 6, TTR Rocket||N38° 4.755'||W117° 0.622'|
|TTR Main Gate||N37° 53.179'||W116° 45.742'|
|Secondary road uphill||N37° 53.422'||W116° 45.600'|
|Park northwest of Mt. Diablo||N37° 53.910'||W116° 45.517'|
|Top of Mount Diablo||N37° 53.773'||W116° 45.332'|