Juniper to the Summit Loop Trail is a 6.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Walnut Creek, CA that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
Hike to the summit of Mt. Diablo. This loop trail circumnavigates the summit and you will enjoy stunning views in all directions. This is a must do if this is your first time to the State Park. Take the Juniper Trail to the Summit Trail. Then North Peak Trail to Prospectors Gap Trail. Return via the Meridian Ridge Trail. At the summit you can look to the west, beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Farallon Islands; southeast to the James Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton at 4,213 feet elevation; south to Mount Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 3,791 feet elevation, north to Mount Saint Helena in the Coast Range at 4,344 feet elevation, and still farther north to Lassen Peak in the Cascades at 10,466 feet
We did this route clockwise with some variations. We start at the Diablo Valley Overlook (DVO) parking area (near Juniper campground). We hiked to the summit with a short side trip to Moses Rock Ridge, taking the Mary Bowerman Trail around the summit and then up to the summit itself for a break. We then went down to the south, connecting with the Summit Trail and returning to the DVO via the Juniper Trail. This hike was 6.5 miles, 1,371 feet of climb with many great views.
Great trail that allows you to take many different routes. Gives you a view from every side of Mt. Diablo with some good elevation changes.
Some good exercise
Did this route clockwise. Pretty good hike with some unrelenting steep sections. Great workout, but little shade... bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen if you are doing this April to October.
Wildflowers of every color were in bloom on the slopes in early May. I suspect they will disappear by June.
As a side note, we encountered many thousands of flying earwigs at the summit and the entire east face, which were not present the day prior.
Real score 2.5. I did the grand loop leaving Juniper Campground. The majority of the trail is actually a fire road and for that reason I rated so low. The major elevation gains on the north portion of the loop are a bit challenging but nothing too crazy. Things pick up on the north east/ eastern side of the mountain. Great views. Part of the mountain was absolutely scorched in fires a few months ago giving portions of the hike an eery beauty to them. I went early on a Saturday morning before the crowds arrived. Overall an enjoyable experience in the future I'll check out the other actual trails in the park.
I did a variation on this trail that doesn't seem to be listed in this app so ill review it here. You take Juniper up to the summit, which is steep but well worth the amazing views. From there you take the North Peak trail from the summit parking lot. This will take you east an then north to the Bald Ridge trail. The view descending around the mountain are AMAZING. It's like you're at the top of the world. There is a rock outcropping there that you can snap a few cool pics at too. Bald Ridge trail will take you across, you guessed it, a bald ridge and then down through a manzanita grove to Meridian Ridge road (fire road). This is where we had lunch. Meridian Ridge road will then take you to Deer Flat road which is a hearty ascent back up to Juniper campground. I would rate this as moderate to difficult because of the elevation changes. It seemed that most people were going the opposite way, clockwise, around the mountain, but if you go that way you will be going uphill all but 2 of the just over 7 miles. Bring plenty of water, snacks and lunch, a camera, sunscreen and a hat. The park is extremely well maintained/groomed with clear markers at each trailhead. I would still recommend a physical topo map and compass though.
Three of us hiked Juniper Trail from Juniper Camp then took the Summit Trail all the way to the observation deck at the top of Mount Diablo. The views were incredible. I am new to hiking and in not that great of shape so hiking up the incline all the way up was challenging for me. I had to stop to catch my breath a few times. I felt bad for Doug and Jerel who had to wait for me. Arriving at the top to the observation deck was well worth the hike. I hope to do a lot more hiking to get in better shape because I think I've found a new hobby.