Tuesday, April 19, 2016
*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. (http://www.mdia.org/site/)
This challenging hike climbs up to Eagle Peak, Twin Peaks and Mitchell Rock from the Regency Gate Trail head in Clayton. It goes along Back Creek Trail to Murchio Gap and continues on Eagle Peak Trail to Eagle Peak. Continue to Twin Peaks and Mitchell Rock on Mitchell Rock Trail before descending the mountain back to Regency Gate.
Begin this hike from 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.
At Murchio Rd junction: go straight to stay on Back Creek Trail. The trail winds along Back Creek through the dense foothill woodlands.
At George Cardinet Back Creek Trail sign-go straight and continue through the lush riparian habitat along the rocky creek.
At Tickwood Trail junction: go straight to stay on Back Creek Trail. The trail narrows as it follows along side the creek.
At Meridian Point Trail junction: go straight to stay on Back Creek Trail. The trail continues to steadily climb through the dense woodlands and opens out along the side of the mountain on a rocky gravelly road.
The trail cuts back through the woodlands and dense manzanitas with moderate grades towards Murchio Gap.
Arrive at Murcho Gap at 2330 feet. Enjoy the extended valley views and the chaparral covered slopes!
At Meridian Ridge Rd/Eagle Peak Trail junction: turn right and continue on Eagle Peak Trail. The trail gains in elevation to a high point of the rocky ridge.
Enjoy the panoramic views along the ridge!
Eagle Peak Trail descends to the base of Eagle Peak through shoulder high dense chaparral with a scattering of Coulter pines overhead.
Eagle Peak Trail exits the thick mountain brush covered slopes out to an open ridge with magnificent vistas!
Eagle Peak Trail narrows to a single track with a sharp drop-off east of the ridge line.
Watch your footing, the sweeping views of Mt Diablo to the south can be a huge distraction as you travel up along the exposed rock laden cliff.
The trail leads to a rockier ascent towards the level plateau summit.
Arrive at Eagle Peak at 2369 feet! Sit for awhile and enjoy the 360 views of the entire Bay Area and beyond-the expansive summit top views are phenomenal!
Enjoy the impressive panoramas from Eagle Peak!
Stay on Eagle Peak Trail; the single track continues along the narrow ridge top with wildflowers abound!
Turn left to stay on Eagle Peak Trail; it continues to wind down from the ridge on a narrow single track.
At the next trail post-go left to stay on Eagle Peak Trail; it drops down through dense brush to the next trail split.
Turn left to stay on Eagle Peak Trail; it cuts through the thick chaparral covered slopes with open views of the mountain peaks and ridges.
Enjoy the expansive valley vistas!
The narrow trail continues descending with some steep stretches-watch your footing!
Eagle Peak Trail levels out bit as it continues long the narrow rocky ridge with stunning views.
At Mitchell Rock Trail junction: go straight onto Mitchell Rock Trail, it travels through the chaparral covered ridge to the crest of Twin Peaks.
At the trail post-go uphill to the top of upper Twin Peaks.
Stop for a moment to enjoy the glorious views and the brilliant colored rocks at Twin Peaks!
Descend the narrow rocky unmarked trail to Mitchell Rock Trail at Twin Peaks summit marker-1733 feet.
Turn left and climb your way up to the top of lower Twin Peaks.
Enjoy the stunning views!
Continue the descent on Mitchell Rock Trail.
The trails cuts through dense brush as it winds down from the rocky ridge.
Mitchell Rock Trail continues through a beautiful stand of Coulter pines before exiting out towards the grassland.
The trail continues down across the hillside with great valley views.
The trail gently climbs upward to Mitchell Rock at 1080 feet.
Enjoy the panoramic views atop Mitchell Rock!
Mitchell Rock Trail continues downhill to the foothill meadows.
At Oak Rd junction: go straight onto Oak Rd. It cuts across the flat open grassland towards Murchio Rd. Wildflowers!
At Murchio Rd junction: turn right onto Murchio Rd, it heads east through the beautiful oak studded meadows.
Enjoy the fields of wildflowers!
Watch for turkeys, it’s mating season! The trails winds around the foothills towards Back Creek Trail.
Turn left at Back Creek Trail for the return to Regency Gate Trailhead.
This is a fabulous scenic loop through the gorgeous foothill meadows, lush riparian habitat and chaparral covered hillsides to the rocky peaks and ridges of Mt Diablo. You’ll enjoy the wide panoramas and the abundance of colorful wildflowers at their peak, so lace up your boots and hit the trails!
7.54 Miles with 2100′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2358′
Time: 4 hours with multiple stops
Hike: 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 60’s to the low 80’s with NW 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.
Directions: Regency Gate > R-Back Creek Tr > Murchio Gap > R-Eagle Peak Tr > S-Mitchell Rock Tr > S-Oak Rd > R-Murchio Rd > L-Back Creek Tr > Regency Gate