Mt Diablo: Mitchell Rock-Black Point Trail Hike

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

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*Mount Diablo State Park is one of the ecological treasures of the San Francisco Bay Area. Every season in the park has its special qualities. Discover them for yourself, from the mountain’s 3,849-foot summit to its beautiful wildflowers, extensive trail system, fascinating wildlife, and distinctive rock formations. 

This challenging hike goes up to Mitchell Rock via Back Creek, Bruce Lee and Coulter Pine Trails before continuing westward for a scenic hidden gem of a loop up to Black Point Summit via Mitchell Canyon Rd and Globe Lily to Red Rd and Black Point Trail.

Begin at the end of Mountaire Parkway in Clayton to the Regency Gate Trailhead at the north side of Mt Diablo.

At the first Donner Canyon Rd junction: turn right onto Back Creek Trail and head up the low hill through the oak studded grassland.

Wildflowers!

Enjoy the panoramic views of Diablo!

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At Murchio Rd junction: go straight to stay on Back Creek Trail. The trail heads south along Back Creek through the dense foothill woodland.

Wildflowers!

At the next trail junction: turn right to Bruce Lee Rd; the trail returns northward for a short quarter mile through the woodland to the next trail junction.

Wildflowers!

Turn left onto Coulter Pine Trail to Oak Rd; the trail cuts across the foothill grassland to Eagle Peak Trail junction.

Go straight to stay on Coulter Pine Trail; it continues on a single track across the tall grass and through the stand of Coulter Pines.

Wildflowers!

The trail exits the woodland back out to the open meadows.

Coulter Pine Trail comes to an end at Oak Rd junction-turn left onto Mitchell Rock Trail; it heads uphill into the dense woodland.

Wildflowers!

Mitchell Rock Trail turns westward as it continues on a gentle climb towards Mitchell Rock.

Wildflowers!

The trail climb upwards to Mitchell Rock at 1080 feet.

Mitchell Rock

Enjoy the panoramic views atop Mitchell Rock!

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Descend Mitchell Rock and retrace steps to Oak Rd.

Wildflowers!

A beautiful California Sisters butterfly!

At the T junction-turn left onto Oak Rd to Mitchell Canyon Rd. The trail travels westwards as it cuts across the lower meadows to Mitchell Canyon.

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At the next junction: turn left onto Mitchell Canyon Rd. The fire road begins on flat terrain along the Mitchell Canyon Interpretive Trail (pick up a trail guide at Mitchell Canyon Staging Area) with ten numbered post along the first mile of the trail.

Wildflowers!

The level trail leads you into the gorgeous shaded oak woodland along the lower canyon area.

Watch for Western Fence lizards and huge pine cones!

Wildflowers!

The trail continues south along the canyon to the shaded bench at Black Point Trail junction.

Turn right onto Black Point Trail followed by a left onto Globe Lily Trail.

Globe Lily Trail parallels Mitchell Canyon Rd on a narrow single track with a gentle elevation gain for the next 0.5 mile.

Wildflowers!

The trail provides fabulous eastern vistas of the mountain peaks and landscape.

Beautiful clusters of endemic Mt. Diablo Globe Lilies!

Globe Lily Trail continues through the dense brush before exiting onto Red Rd.

Abundant wildflowers!

At the trail junction-turn right onto Red Rd, it climbs up through the sunny section of White Canyon.

Wildflowers!

Red Rd continues into the shaded canyon with views of the chaparral covered hills.

More wildflowers!

At Black point Trail junction; turn right and head north on Black Point Trail. This less-traveled overgrown trail climbs up through the grassland into the upper woodland.

Follow the faint trail through the dense brush.

Wildflowers!

The trail continues to climb through thick overgrown vines and lush mountain vegetation.

The rocky terrain cuts through the chaparral covered slopes before coming to a steep climb at the switchback.

The trail continues along the west side of the park with beautiful vistas of the peaks and canyons around Mt Diablo!

Red Rd winds along the ridge line with stunning views of central Contra Costa!

Wildflowers!

The trail winds its way through the dense brush with spectacular valley vistas!

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Wildflowers!

Continue through the beautiful lush landscape to Black Point Summit Trail junction at 1670 feet.

Turn right onto Black Point Summit Trail; it leads to the chaparral-covered summit of Black Point at 1791 feet.

Black Point Summit views!

Retrace your steps to Black Point Trail junction.

Turn right onto Black Point Trail; it goes along the top of the ridge with phenomenal views of the canyons and peaks at Mt Diablo!

Wildflowers!

The trail descends Black Point with a series of switchbacks through the dense chaparral.

It continues through lush vegetation as it winds down towards Mitchell Canyon. The trail opens up with views of the mountain peaks and Mitchell Rock.

Black Point Trail cuts across the grassy slopes to a small clearing.

Wildflowers!

The trail continues downhill to the junction at Mitchell Canyon Rd.

Turn left onto Mitchell Canyon Rd and return through the lower canyon to Mitchell Canyon Staging Area. Water & restrooms are available.

Wildflowers!

Stop at Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center.

Return to Mitchell Canyon Rd to Oak Rd junction.

Turn left onto Oak Rd for the short climb out of the canyon area to the open grassland.

At the next trail junction-turn left to stay on Oak Rd to Murchio Rd. The trail cuts across the grassland to the T junction at Murchio Rd.

Turn right at Murchio Rd junction to Donner Canyon. The road heads east across the expansive foothill grassland to Bruce Lee Rd junction.

Stay on Murchio Rd and take Back Creek Trail back to Regency Gate.

Wildflowers!

Return to Mountaire Pkwy.

Take the trails less traveled and you’ll enjoy the trek through the lesser known NW corner of Mt Diablo with the Black Point Summit Loop. You’ll be rewarded with phenomenal vistas and a different bird’s eye view of central Contra Costa! Spring into action and hit the trails-they’re lit up with brilliant colored wildflowers!

Stats:
9.35 Miles with 2100′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1753′
Time: 5 hours with a multiple stops
Hike: Moderate-challenging with steep climbs
Parking: Free street parking at the end of Mountaire Parkway in Clayton.
No facilities & no water. Descend steep trail to the park gate below.
Bring water & food/snacks-Water & restrooms at Mitchell Canyon Staging Area
NO DOGS ALLOWED

Weather: Sunny and warm. Temps ranging from the high 50’s to the high 60’s with SW winds

*The current edition “Mount Diablo Trail Map” is available for purchase at the park entrance stations, Summit Visitor Center and Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center in Mt.  Diablo State Park. They are also available at selected retail map distribution stores such as REI and on-line at MDIA’s Store.

*http://www.mdia.org/site/

Directions: Regency Gate > R-Back Creek Tr > R-Bruce Lee Rd > L-Coulter Pine Tr > L-Mitchell Rock Tr > R-Mitchell Rock >U-turn Mitchell Rock Tr > L-Oak Tr > L-Mitchell Canyon Rd > R-Black Point Tr > L-Globe Lily Tr > R-Red Rd > R-Black Point Tr > R-Black Point Summit Tr > U-Black Point Summit Tr > R-Black Point Tr > L-Mitchell Canyon Rd > Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center > U-Mitchell Canyon Rd > L-Oak Tr > L-Oak Tr > R-Murchio Rd > L-Back Creek > Regency Gate

Mitchell Rock Black Point

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