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Mount Diablo Summit Loop - North

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

13.7 mile 22.1 kilometer loop
79% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,378' 1,030 m
Descent: -3,369' -1,027 m
High: 3,774' 1,150 m
Low: 573' 175 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)

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No Dogs
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Map Key

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

Miguel Vieira

Features Views · Wildflowers

Overview

Start with a long run 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. Run 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.

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Check-Ins

May 11, 2019
Chris Leonetti
Dec 2, 2018
Ariel Zucker
Hard! 13.7mi

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 10 votes

#2306

Overall
  4.1 from 10 votes
5 Star
20%
4 Star
70%
3 Star
10%
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0%
1 Star
0%
Run Rankings

#336

in California

#2,306

Overall
88 Views Last Month
2,698 Since Oct 21, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

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
The route is well-kept and exposed, with sweeping views and occasional brisk gusts — especially close to the summit.
Sep 30, 2018 near Clayton, CA
North Peak.
Dec 27, 2017 near Clayton, CA
The dirt fire road.
Dec 29, 2015 near Blackhawk, CA

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