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Mount Diablo Falls Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (17) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This rugged and scenic hike explores the waterfalls around the headwaters of Donner Creek.


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Map Key

5.4

Miles

8.7

KM

Lollipop

1,648' 502 m

High

543' 166 m

Low

1,108' 338 m

Up

1,106' 337 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

24%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Overview

Hikes on Mount Diablo are typically hot and dry, but after a winter storm, this hike rewards you with waterfalls, lush vegetation, and maybe even views of Mount Diablo's snowy summits.

Need to Know

The waterfalls on this hike are best after a series of good winter rains - but be prepared for lots of mud!

Description

From Regency Drive, work your way past the end of the road and downhill to Donner Canyon Road and turn left onto the trail. This wide multi-use trail follows Donner Creek uphill, climbing gradually through grasslands dotted with oaks and buckeyes. Several trails branch off to the left and right from Donner Canyon Road, but you'll be following until it ends.

At about a mile, the trail becomes steeper and the landscape changes to steep hills cloaked by chaparral. Climb for another half mile to the end of Donner Canyon Road at Meridian Ridge Fire Road.

Turn right on Meridian Ridge Fire Road. Shortly after that, turn left on the singletrack Middle Trail. The Middle Trail continues the climb through the chaparral for another half mile, where it splits at a junction with the Falls Trail.

Turn left onto the Falls Trail. The Falls Trail is narrow and winding, climbing up and down on its visit to three waterfalls before leveling off and descending to Cardinet Oaks Road.

Turn left on Cardinet Oaks Road. At the junction with Donner Canyon Road, turn right and head downhill back to the starting point of the hike.

Contacts

Shared By:

Miguel Vieira with improvements by James Carr and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 17 votes

#472

Overall
  4.5 from 17 votes
5 Star
59%
4 Star
35%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#79

in California

#472

Overall
593 Views Last Month
12,848 Since Nov 26, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Out walking
Oct 4, 2019 near Clayton, CA
Diablo Tarantulas!
Oct 4, 2019 near Clayton, CA
A distant view of the waterfalls on Mount Diablo's Falls Trail
Nov 26, 2017 near Clayton, CA
A dramatic waterfall after winter rains on Mount Diablo's Falls Trail
Nov 26, 2017 near Clayton, CA

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Check-Ins

Jan 24, 2021
Ozan Ulucan
Feb 15, 2020
Erica Y
6.5mi — 2h 37m
Jan 5, 2020
Lal W.
Hike included part of Meridian Ridge, Juniper to Summit, Middle Trails to return to Falls Loop Trail. due to missed turn. Over 1700ft elevation gain. 8.2mi
Oct 13, 2019
Scott Xiao
17h 45m
May 12, 2019
Joseph Cruz
Mar 30, 2019
Lucy Norris
Got to the trailhead around 9:30. Perfect timing as it got pretty warm and a little more crowded later. All three falls active after rains.
Feb 17, 2019
E S
5.7mi
Jan 27, 2019
Shabali Dudley