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Mount Diablo Summit Loop - North

Difficult
 4.0 (13) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This strenuous loop hike tours Mount Diablo's ridges and canyons with a stop at the summit.


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Map Key

13.7

Miles

22.1

KM

Loop

3,774' 1,150 m

High

573' 175 m

Low

3,378' 1,030 m

Up

3,369' 1,027 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

28%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views · Wildflowers

Overview

Start with a long hike up Mitchell Canyon, then climb Mount Diablo's high ridges to awesome views at the summit. Descend through chaparral and oak savannas back to the start.

Description

From the Mitchell Canyon staging area, take the Mitchell Canyon Fire Road south along Mitchell Creek. The trail climbs gently next to the creek for about 2.5 miles, but then climbs steeply up switchbacks with improving views to end at Deer Flat Fire Road.

At Deer Flat Fire Road, turn right and follow the road uphill for a mile. At the junction with Burma Road, stay left on Deer Flat Fire Road. Hike through Juniper Campground, and then, just before reaching paved Summit Road, find the Juniper Trail.

Take the Juniper Trail uphill for another mile until it ends at a large parking lot. Cross the parking lot and then cross Summit Road.

Find the Summit Trail across the road and follow it to the summit. There is a parking lot and visitor center on the summit, and it's often busy and crowded. Climb to the top of the observation tower to enjoy the views, then come back down the Summit Trail. Cross Summit Road again, this time staying on the Summit Trail, following it down to Devils Elbow on Summit Road.

At Devils Elbow, pick up the North Peak Trail, enjoying great views of the wilderness of rolling hills to the east.

After a mile, the North Peak Trail ends at Prospectors Gap. Turn left on Prospector's Gap Fire Road and follow it downhill for 1.3 miles to where Meridian Ridge Fire Road branches off to the right.

Turn onto Meridian Ridge Fire Road and follow it for a steep and sunny mile and a half through the chaparral.

The road ends at an intersection with Donner Canyon Road and Cardinet Oaks Road. Take Donner Canyon Road to the left. Donner Canyon Road descends along Donner Creek through a landscape that gradually transitions to oaks and grasslands.

About 1.3 miles later, once Donner Canyon Road has leveled off in the grasslands, turn left on Murchio Road. Follow it for west for a little less than mile until Oak Road breaks off to the left.

Follow Oak Road until it ends at Mitchell Canyon Fire Road, then turn right on Mitchell Canyon Fire Road and follow it back to Mitchell Canyon staging area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Miguel Vieira with improvements by Corey Chan

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 13 votes

#2545

Overall
  4.0 from 13 votes
5 Star
23%
4 Star
62%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
8%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#360

in California

#2,545

Overall
126 Views Last Month
3,727 Since Oct 21, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
9%
0%
91%
0%

Photos

Making our way on the North Juniper Trail. It was so chilly!
Feb 4, 2016 near Blackhawk, CA
We got out of the blistery wind, found some incredible Oak, Pine, even Mistletoe on the Meridian Ridge Fire Road! Muah!
Feb 4, 2016 near Clayton, CA
At the Summit of Diablo
May 17, 2019 near Blackhawk, CA
Summit Trail
Oct 22, 2017 near Blackhawk, CA
We only saw 2 other people on our Monday hike on the North Juniper Trail!
Feb 4, 2016 near Blackhawk, CA
Looking south towards Ransom Point on the trail to Prospectors Gap. The route has little cover, no water, and great views.
Sep 30, 2018 near Clayton, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 3 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Aug 8, 2020
Keekee Winslow
Veryyyy hot, not a ton of tree coverage, get there when it opens! 13.7mi — 5h 00m
Jul 5, 2020
Matthew Perry
Amazing hike. Recommend packing headlamp and hiking poles as both uphill and descent can be challenging. Pack more hydration than you think you need. 14.3mi — 11h 10m
Jun 22, 2020
Astrid Harris
Mar 13, 2020
Gustavo Diaz
Jan 10, 2020
Braxton S
beautiful all day winter hike! 14mi — 7h 00m
May 23, 2019
Cathy M.
The creeks were flowing and colorful flowers abounded! 13.8mi — 6h 01m
May 4, 2019
Luke Davis
Apr 20, 2019
Ana Ibáñez
9h 00m