This loop is mostly on fire roads with some nice singletrack trails up to the summit. The views of the Bay Area are the some of the best around, and there are some great break off points from the trail for lunch spots or other deviations.
From the overlook parking lot, hike through Juniper Campground, and you'll hit the trailhead of Deer Flat Fire Road
. It is a fire road, so it's quite wide and easy to spot. The trail is at the end of the "U". There is a small singletrack trail that leads you up to the fire road. The rest of the trail is very open. There are areas of pretty steep incline and decline, but the views are beautiful the whole way.
Take a right onto Meridian Ridge Fire Road
.This wide, dirt road has a good mix of ascent and descent. You'll want to keep right at all the forks leading up to the summit following Meridian Ridge Fire Road
Take another right onto Prospector's Gap Fire Road
. This trail connects the Meridian Ridge Fire Road
to the North Peak Trail
so you can make your way to the summit. This whole trail is uphill and very steep. If you are headed to the summit then you are obviously going up, so be prepared for a good workout! The views behind you are fantastic of the San Francisco Bay Area though, so a couple quick breaks are not such a bad thing.
Once you come to the Prospector's Gap intersection, the North Peak Trail
is very easy to find once you hit the fork at the top. Just take a right onto the North Peak Trail
and follow the trail that leads you to the museum at the summit. You'll have to hike Summit Road a little ways to get to Juniper Trail which will lead you very quickly back to your car.
There are multiple signs giving background about Mount Diablo and the surrounding area and plenty of great views to be seen on this hike.