Mt Diablo: Mitchell Rock-Twin Peaks Trail Hike

Wednesday, August 3, 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. *2

This challenging hike goes up to Mitchell Rock via Back Creek, Bruce Lee, Coulter Pine and Mitchell Rock Trails before continuing eastward up to Twin Peaks. It drops from Eagle Peak Trail back to the foothill meadows for the return to Regency Gate.

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.

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

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.

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 stands of Coulter Pines.

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.

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

Mitchell Rock at 1080 feet.

Enjoy the panoramic views!

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Continue on Mitchell Rock Trail, the single track heads south as it cuts across the hillside towards the scattered pines and chaparral covered slopes.

Follow the trail sign, it turns eastward on rocky terrain through the mountain brush.

The trail climbs southward to the lower colored rocks and manzanitas near Twin Peaks.

Enjoy the views!

Mitchell Rock Trail snakes through the chaparral up towards Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks at 1733 feet.

Enjoy the panoramic vistas!

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Stay on Mitchell Trail, it continues to ascend across the mountain side to Eagle Peak Trail junction.

Enjoy the phenomenal views of the canyons and ridges around Diablo!

Eagle Rock Trail descends northward through the chaparral covered slopes and Coulter pine stands back to the lower meadows.

At Coulter Pine Trail junction, turn right followed by an immediate left onto Bruce Lee Rd. The broad fire road travels across the expansive grassland to Murchio Rd.

Turn right at Murchio Rd junction to Back Creek Trail.

Take Back Creek Trail to Donner Canyon Rd for the return to Regency Gate.

This is a wonderfully scenic loop at any time of year. Passing through several distinct habitat zones – meadow lands, oak savannah, chaparral, rocky summits and a fine stand of Coulter pines. Climb steadily on the Mitchell Rock Trail to the crest of Twin Peaks. Pause to admire the brilliantly colored rocks at the and the venerable Great-Berried manzanita, survivors of many fires, with exquisite blooms in January and February. Take care – Twin Peaks have dangerous vertical drop-offs!*2

*1 http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/517/files/mtDiabloBrochure.pdf
*2 http://www.mdia.org/site/park-information/activities/hiking/ten-moderate-hikes

Stats:
5.2 Miles with 1276′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1702′
Time: 3 hours
Hike: Moderate 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 & HOT. Temps ranging from the high 60’s to the high 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, Sportsbasement and on-line at MDIA’s Store.

Directions: Regency Gate > R-Back Creek Tr > S-stay on Back Creek Tr > R-Bruce Lee Rd > L-Coulter Pine Tr > L-Mitchell Rock Tr > to Mitchell Rock & Twin Peaks > L-Eagle Peak Tr > R-Coulter Pine Tr > L-Bruce Lee Rd > R-Murchio Rd > L-Back Creek Tr > L Donner Canyon Rd > Regency Gate

Mitchell Rock

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