Mt Diablo: Back Creek-Eagle Peak Trail Hike

Friday, April 21, 2017

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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. 

Eagle Peak is 2 miles northwest of Mt. Diablo’s main summit. This hike climbs up to Eagle Peak from the Regency Gate Trail head in Clayton. Take Back Creek Trail to Murchio Gap and continue on Eagle Peak Trail to Eagle Peak. Descend the mountain on Eagle Peak Trail to Bruce Lee Rd and continue on Murchio Rd for the return on Back Creek Trail to Regency Gate trailhead.

Begin this hike at the end of Mountaire Pkwy-descend the steep trail to the Regency Gate Trailhead.

At the first Donner Canyon Rd junction: turn right onto Back Creek Trail and head up the low hill through the oak grasslands. The trail winds 2.6 miles with a steady climb up to Murchio Gap.

At Murchio Rd junction: go straight to stay on Back Creek Trail. The trail winds along Back Creek through the dense foothill woodlands, riparian habitat, and creek crossings.

At George Cardinet Back Creek Trail sign, go straight and continue through the lush riparian habitat along the rocky creek.

Wildflowers!

At Tick Wood Trail junction: go straight to stay on Back Creek Trail. The trail narrows as it follows alongside the creek.

Wildflowers!

At Meridian Point Trail junction: go straight to stay on Back Creek Trail. The trail continues through the dense woodlands and opens out along the side of the mountain on a rocky gravelly road.

Wildflowers!

The trail cuts back through the woodlands and dense manzanitas with moderate grades towards Murchio Gap.

Arrive at Murchio 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!

Wildflowers!

Eagle Peak Trail levels out a bit as it continues along the narrow rocky ridge with stunning views.

Turn right to stay on Eagle Peak Trail to Coulter Pine Trail. The trail continues traversing down the mountain through the thickets with the occasional glimpse of Mt Diablo to the south.

The steep terrain winds down through some Coulter pines along the exposed slope into the shaded brush. The packed dirt trail becomes slippery terrain with loose rocks.

Wildflowers!

Eagle Peak Trail weaves down through the shaded woodlands before exiting out onto the open grasslands. At Coultier Pine/Bruce Lee Rd Trail junction: turn right and continue on Bruce Lee Rd. The trail leads down to the expansive oak-studded grasslands around Diablo’s foothills.

At Murchio Rd Trail junction: turn right and continue on Murchio Rd. The road takes you through the open valley meadows across back Creek followed by a short climb over the low hill to Back Creek Trail.

At Back Creek Trail Junction: turn left to stay on Back Creek Trail to Donner Canyon Rd. The trail takes you up and over the rise through the oaks towards Regency Gate.

This is a gorgeous hike that climbs through the steep and dense chaparral-covered slopes along the north side of Diablo. The high ridges along Eagle Peak provide sweeping views of the entire area with fabulous views of Mt Diablo to the south. You’ll enjoy the astounding panoramas from Eagle Peak at 2369′, you’ll be glad you did it-the payoff is priceless!

Get a trail map, gear up and enjoy everything Mt Diablo has to offer: rugged mountain scenery, meadows and open grasslands, oak-studded foothills, creek side vegetation, wildflowers and endless panoramic vistas!

Stats:
6.41 Miles with 2307′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2383′
Time: 4 hours with many stops
Hike: Moderate-challenging
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-No amenities along the trails
NO DOGS ALLOWED

Weather: Sunny & warm with temps ranging from the mid 60’s to the high 70’s with NE 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 and on-line at MDIA’s Store.

Directions: Regency Gate > S-Donner Canyon Rd > R-Back Creek Tr > S-Back Creek Tr > Murchio Gap > R-Meridian Ridge > Eagle Peak Tr > STOP-EAGLE PEAK> continue on Eagle Peak Tr > R-stay on Eagle Peak Tr to Coultier Pine Tr > L-Bruce Lee Rd > R-Murchio Rd > L-Back Creek Tr > Regency Gate

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