Donner Creek Loop Trail

MODERATE 556 reviews
#1 of 74 trails in

Donner Creek Loop Trail is a 5.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Clayton, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 5.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,161 feet Route Type: Loop

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

Beautiful hike along creek, multiple cascades, mountain views. This loop trail is a great short hike that allows you to escape into the wilderness for a few hours. Donner Creek Falls consists of a series of four separate cascades falling off the peaks of Diablo. During the winter months and after a good rain, the waterfalls are rather impressive. From the parking area, walk along Donner Canyon Rd to Hetherington Loop (1.0 mi). After about 1.8 miles, turn left at the Cardinet Oaks Rd., and follow this road across Donner Creek and up a steep section to a junction with the Falls Trail on the right. This trail leads down to the falls on Donner Creek and continues on to the Middle Trail, which then loops back down to the Donner Canyon Rd.

hiking
6 days ago

We came at the wrong season when water all dries out.

hiking
6 days ago

Parking at Regency is only about 10cars. Mitchell Canyon has bathrooms, water and you support the park i which needs your money so You can hike

running
7 days ago

Great for peak training. Trail is thin and lots of poison oak so technu up!. Start early am and take water if you want to summit. You can park at end of Regency. You have to pay at Mitchell Canyon.

running
12 days ago

This is more of a hike. We had a group do a trail run here and there were very dangerous areas - extremely rocky and steep drop offs. Single track and rattler in the middle that wouldn’t budge for a while.

hiking
23 days ago

Map is wrong. Need to start at Mitchell Canyon. This neighborhood has resident only parking and cars will be ticketed and towed. Mitchell Canyon is the official park entrance with water, bathrooms and maps

hiking
rocky
27 days ago

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

running
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

Nice trail. Saw lots of wild flowers and butterflies. There was water in the creek as of mid June.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Make sure to wear shoes with good tread, a lot of rocky areas. Also, bring plenty of water the trail doesn’t have much tree coverage and it gets quite hot in the afternoon.

hiking
2 months ago

Trail was skinny at some points. Great trail.

hiking
no shade
2 months ago

The flowers are gone. When I come back, will have to park at Mitchell Canyon. The city has approved resident only parking and will not be able to park on Regency or Rialto dr. Better there anyway since there are bathrooms, water and maps

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

I hiked this trail today (6/16/19). It took about 4 hours to do 5 miles with a full pack as temperatures were about 80. It has spectacular views, but it is pretty steep in parts. The Donner Cabin Trail is steep, narrow and on the edge of a cliff. I was glad I had a hiking pole. I also drank about 4 liters of water. The wildflowers are almost all gone, but there were lots of lovely butterflies. This should probably be rated a hard trail.

hiking
3 months ago

My husband and I do this hike every other weekend since we live close by. We last did this hike on 6/2/2019 and the weather was definitely starting to warm up. There are still wildflowers in bloom and the water hasn't dried out yet.

hiking
4 months ago

No facilities. Park at Mitchell Canyon park entrance. Don’t bring dogs into park. Nice hike from Mitchell Canyon lot

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
rocky
washed out
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous in early spring. There are some steep areas and some narrow trails that might bother some folks who don’t like heights. I parked at the Mitchell canyon lot which cost $6 and then hiked from there to the trail which added a nice grassy stroll to the start and finish. Would do it again in spring for sure. Probably would avoid as soon as it gets hot!

hiking
no shade
rocky
5 months ago

A challenging and glorious hike, especially right now with the mid-April wildflowers and the creek still running. I would say this trail is honestly on the hard side of moderate. The out-and-back portion of the trail is a wide fire road that runs between the creek and a grassy hillside. The loop portion is quite narrow and runs along the edge of a steep canyon. For this reason I wouldn’t recommend this trail for kids or inexperienced hikers. I was glad to have good boots and hiking poles, and even then I decided to slide down one spot on my butt rather than risk falling. I took a lot of breaks to eat, snap wildflower photos, and enjoy the beautiful views. In light of that, it took me about four hours.

hiking
5 months ago

just did the trail today (4/15/19) and yeap this trail can be considered hard due to the inclines and steepness of some of the trails but other than that it was actually calming. my friend and I went around 8am and the weather was just perfect, not to hot and not too cold either, the breeze was even helpful. I would actually come back here again. it was nice being at the summit looking over the horizon and hearing the Waterfalls in the background.

hiking
5 months ago

Handful of pretty difficult spots, but otherwise a really fun trail with great views and the sound of waterfalls in the background almost the whole route!

hiking
no shade
rocky
5 months ago

Donner Trail Waterfalls Loop - Great trail if you're looking for a moderate hike on Mt Diablo Elevations - You will hike approx 1,200 feet up on this trail and goes halfway up the mountain. The first half mile is flat but the next mile up Donner Creek Rd is all uphill battle. Once you hit Falls Trail you'll climb a portion but the rest of the Falls Trail and Middle Trail hike is fairly flat with a few small up and down portions. Suggestion- As you head up Donner Trail, stay left and take Falls Creek Trail up the hill. The terrain is loose gravel on portions of Falls Trail and easier to climb up thru the loose gravel than sliding downhill and off the cliff. Lol. Waterfalls -Great trail during the rainy season but If you live in the East Bay, you know how much rain we get in the summer. Terrain-The terrain on the first leg of the trip is on a fire road that is muddy in the spring. Once you start climbing up the Falls Trail trail you'll hit a tight trail with loose gravel and a steep drop-off. I'd definitely suggest hiking boots for this adventure. Parking - Good luck parking at the end of Regency Drive. Lol. Parking is limited and in a neighborhood that does not appreciate tourists. The Mitchell Canyon park entrance is a short hike away from the trail head and the suggested place to park. Bring water and sunscreen!

hiking
5 months ago

Waters still flowing 8 April 2019

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful trail but I was a little premature in the season to find many wildflowers. I’m not a hardcore hiker but it only took me 2,5 hours to complete even after adding an additional 20 minutes from my parking spot (btw the app was great in helping me find parking since the lot at the entrance was full). There was only a short portion that was pretty steep but not unbearable. I did the hike by myself and felt totally safe. I’ll definitely go back and explore other paths.

hiking
muddy
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

I went to Sunol’s “Canyon View to Little Yosemite” hike few weeks before this hike and this hike is no way as beautiful. The views becomes kind of repetitive at times. It is definitely a challenging hike but in the end you don’t get the views for the effort you put in

hiking
muddy
5 months ago

trails were pretty good for it just finishing up raining.

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