Mt Diablo: Mitchell Canyon-Black Point Loop Trail Hike

Friday, December 15, 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.

This challenging hike cuts across the lower foothill of Mt Diablo for a scenic hidden gem of a loop up to Black Point Summit via Mitchell Canyon Rd. The Black Point Trail proper starts about one-half mile along the Mitchell Canyon Road trail, on the right just beyond the creek crossing. It ends on Red Road and the loop is completed by taking Mitchell Canyon Road back to the trailhead.*1

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 the four-way junction, turn right onto Murchio Rd. It winds uphill around the scattered oaks to the upper grasslands to Bruce Lee Rd junction.

Go straight to stay on Murchio Rd, it continues westward with expanding views of Mt Zion and Twin Peaks.

At Oak Rd junction, go straight to stay on Murchio Rd to the T junction at Watertower Rd.

Turn left onto Watertower Rd to Oak Rd. Oak Rd drops down through the oak woodland to Mitchell Canyon Rd.

Turn left onto Mitchell Canyon Rd, the level trail turns southward into the gorgeous shaded oak woodland along the lower canyon area.

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

Turn right onto Black Point Trail, the fire road traverses the chaparral-covered hillside to the next trail post.

Black Point Trail becomes a single track as it continues to traverse the hillside through the dense brush and scattered pines.

The trail opens with extended views of the surrounding ridges and canyons. Enjoy the gorgeous views!

Black Point Trail continues westward through the chaparral-covered hillside to Black Point Summit Trail.

Turn left onto Black Point Summit Trail for a moderate climb up to the summit.

Arrive at Black Point Summit at 1791 feet. Enjoy the glorious views!

U-turn on Black Point Summit Trail to the Black Point Trail junction.

Turn left and continue the loop on Black Point Trail. It turns southward with a gentle downhill grade through the chaparral-covered hillside.

Enjoy the stunning panoramas of central Contra Costa!

The trail continues winding its way downhill with expanding views of the peaks and canyons around Mt Diablo!

Black Point Trail winds downhill with a steep rocky descent towards White Canyon.

The rocky terrain continues down through the dense mountain vegetation.

The trail levels out as it cuts through the scattered woodland to Red Rd junction.

Turn left onto Red Rd, the wide fire road travels eastward through White Canyon along a seasonal creek.

At Globe Lily Trail junction, stay on Red Rd to Mitchell Canyon Rd junction. Turn left onto Mithcell Canyon Rd to close the loop at Black Point Trail junction.

Return on Mitchell Canyon Rd to Oak Rd junction.

Turn right on Oak Rd, it exits the canyon floor with a climb up through the oak woodland.

Go straight to stay on Oak Rd to Murchio Rd. The fire road cuts across the grassland to the next junction at Coultier Pine Trail, go straight to stay on Oak Rd.

Oak Rd turns northward to the T junction at Muchio Rd.

Cross Murchio Rd onto a No Name Trail, it continues north across the open grassland to the T junction at the unmarked Bruce Lee Rd.

Enjoy the glorious panoramic views!

Turn right onto Bruce Lee Rd, it heads eastward across the foothill and winds around the scattered oaks with views of a dry pond.

Turn left onto Murchio Rd junction, it continues across the grassland and winds around the low hill to Back Creek Trail junction.

Return on Back Creek Trail to Donner Canyon Rd.

Exit Regency Gate to Mountaire Pkwy.

An outstanding journey through a hidden little-known corner of the park, spanning several life zones, culminating at the chaparral-covered summit of Black Point. From here a truly unique perspective of central Contra Costa is obtained.*1

*1 http://www.mdia.org/site/park-information/activities/hiking/ten-moderate-hikes

Stats:
7.62 Miles with 1852′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1774′
Time: 3.5 hrs with a few stops
Hike: 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-*water & restrooms at Mitchell Canyon Staging Area
NO DOGS ALLOWED

Weather: Partly sunny with hazy skies. Cool temps ranged from the high 40’s to the low 60’s NE winds.

Directions: Mountaire Pkwy > Regency Gate Trailhead > R-Back Creek Tr > R-Murchio Rd > L-Watertower Rd > R-Oak Rd > L-Mitchell Canyon Rd > R-Black Point Tr > L-Black Point Summit Tr > U-Black Point Summit Tr > L-Black Point Tr > L-Red Rd > L-Mitchell Canyon Rd > R-Oak Rd > L-stay on Oak Rd > X-Murchio Rd > S-No Name Tr > R-Bruce Lee Rd > L-Murchio Rd > L-Back Creek Tr > Regency Gate 

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2 Comments

  1. What a wonderful hiking trail. As ever, great photos to accompany the journey. Thanks Nancy for your latest blog. Merry Christmas!

    Like

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