Mitchell Creek to Diablo Summit

HARD 138 reviews
#4 of 27 trails in

Mitchell Creek to Diablo Summit is a 12.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Clayton, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from September until June.

DISTANCE
12.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3759 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

This is a difficult yet rewarding hike to the summit of Mt. Diablo. Be prepared for lots of elevation change and hot temperatures. Begin at the Mitchell Canyon Staging Area. take Mitchell Canyon Trail to Meridian Ridge Trail to Juniper Trail to the Summit Trail. Parking is $6 per car, you pay just before entering at a kiosk. Restrooms and a visitor center are available at the trailhead. The parking lot opens at 8 A.M and is accessible until sunset.

hiking
8 days ago

9 days ago

Was a great hike! But, the next time I will start earlier (started around noon this time). The kind volunteer at the visitor center warned me that I would be cutting it very close as sunset was 6:54 PM today (they have sunset info at the visitors center too, super helpful).
My climb on the Meridian Ridge got really tough, and had it not been for Brigitte and Chris (strangers, and fellow hikers who motivated me to continue) I may have quit amd turned back! Thanks guys!! Happy Anniversary again! :)
I finished at 7:52 after pretty much jogging the last 3.67 mi on Mitchell Canyon Road. It was way past sunset, but it was a starry night and I could see enough to find my way back. So, it wasn't too bad even though my powerbank/flash light gave out on me! I ran into a group of Boy Scouts from Walnut Creek who graciously lit up my way for the last 1/2 mile! Thank you Boy Scouts!!
Lessons learned - Start early! It's no fun hurrying down Deer Flat Road and Mitchell Canyon Road when you are exhausted! Even though the roads are as flat and stable underfoot as unpaved, fire roads can get.
Budget a lot of time for Back Creek Trail, even though it is very arduous, it has amazing views! So give yourself time to relax and take it all in.
There is a lot of Poison Oak on this trail, stay away! Brigitte educated me that the easiest way to recognize this plant is their leaves are in clusters of three and that they are one of the first to turn color (green to red) in fall. Every Poison Oak plant I saw had bright red leaves.
I didn't especially enjoy hiking alone, so bring a buddy along!
The Visitors Center up at the Summit closes at 4 PM. Get there before then of you are planning to buy a snack there.
Though they have restrooms at the Summit, and they are fairly clean, I think the restrooms at Juniper Campgrounds are cleaner and better, so you may want to use those.
Lastly, enjoy your time on the mountain! This was my first experience of hiking Mt. Diablo, and I have done only 2 hikes over 10 miles in the past, so this one was one tough mudder for me, but I am stoked that I persisted and got to the Summit, the sense of accomplishment you feel when you get back in the car is indescribable!

hiking
9 days ago

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10 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

Portions of this trail are *very* steep. Who needs switchbacks anyways, right? But hey, you can buy cold drinks and snacks halfway through at the summit. Went clockwise - second half after Diablo summit is almost entirely on a fire road. Fun one! Great for backpacking training. Would not recommend for trail running due to the nature of the first half of the trail.

hiking
15 days ago

This was a brutal 6.5 hour hike, but totally worth the challenge. I'd recommend this route which I've tried yesterday when it was around 70-80 degrees and will try again (not recommended for ultra novice hikers, however, due to the steep/narrow/long trails):

Start from Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center --> Back Creek Trail --> Bald Ridge Trail (very narrow/steep path filled w/ poison oak) --> North Peak Trail --Summit Trail (top) --> (descending) Juniper Trail --> Deer Flat Road (immediately after the juniper camping ground) --> Mitchell Canyon Road.

Make sure to grab a free map of the trails at the Visitor Center before starting. There are many intersecting trails and it would be quite difficult without a map.

hiking
15 days ago

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16 days ago

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21 days ago

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21 days ago

22 days ago

4 of us hiked it today including my 13 yr old son. 3 hr hike up got a lift down. 7.3 miles was a huge accomplishment, very proud of him.

hiking
22 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

I completed the summit hikes yesterday. It was below 80 degree and the weather was perfect for hiking. I went up on Back Creek Trail, which is a strenuous steep ascend. But the trail is pretty well maintained and easy to negotiate, comparing to Eagle Peak Trail. And the trail continued to Bald Ridge Trail and Summit Trail. The view at the summit was excellent. It was a bit crowded at the main parking lot. I went to the other side of the summit where there are plenty of picnic tables and a clean restroom with hardly any people. That is the perfect place for a picnic after the thigh busting hike.

I took the Juniper Trail, Deer Flat Creek Road and Mitchell Canyon Road back to the Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. This is an easier route as it is fire road most of the way, and it is wide, smooth and not as steep. As a bonus, I saw two tarantulas along the way less than a mile from the Visitor Center.

This is one of the toughest hikes I've ever done. It's definitely worth it.

hiking
29 days ago

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1 month ago

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1 month ago

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1 month ago

The hike is amazing but very exhausting. The feeling of having conquered the summit feels amazing. On the way down, mitchell creek is a gorgeous place to sit on a bench and do nothing but relax.

Let be break it up based on experience of hikers.

If you are a novice or an amateur hiker, then I strongly recommend hiking the Summit via Mitchell canyon road and descending the same way back. I DO NOT recommend hiking up or down via Eagle peek trail or bald ridge trail. These trails are poorly groomed, very narrow, lots of poison oak with snakes and tarantula and has a lot of loose gravel making hiking in any direction harder. If you still want to do it, then I recommend ascending via eagle peek trail and bald ridge trail. The loose gravel makes descending prone to ankle injuries and puts a lot of stress on your knee. Hiking down Mitchell creek trail is easy and fun.

If you are a pro hiker, then it does not matter what I think. Do whatever pleases you.

To all hikers, carry atleast 4-5 liters of water because there are no water spigots along the trail till you pretty much reach the summit. This is specifically true if you plan on taking eagle peek trail and bald ridge trail because it's more strenuous. Also consume lots of electrolytes and salts. There are water soluble electrolytes that you can just add to your water. I did not do a good job of consuming electrolytes and my legs started cramping which made my ascent much more difficult. Try to avoid days where peak temperature exceeds 95F. Start early (8AM if you can) beat the heat.

it's a great hike and the views at the top are fantastic.

hiking
1 month ago

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1 month ago

2 months ago