Mitchell Creek to Diablo Summit

HARD 229 reviews
#3 of 62 trails in

Mitchell Creek to Diablo Summit is a 11.9 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
11.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3520 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.

8 days ago

I did it as a training hike on 6/9/18 and it was such a rewarding and interesting long hike. Pay attention to the trail map as it is quite confusing.

hiking
15 days ago

We went on a hot day and it was not worth it. It was hazy and the view wasn't anything too exciting. The best part was all the fun critters we saw along the way! There were so many ladybugs, lizards, rabbits, and birds. That was super fun to see!
We went counterclockwise; we went up the service road and down the actual trail. Going up was fairly easy, but going down was way harder becuase the actual trail was more up and down whereas the service road was straight up. If it wasn't so hot it would have not been too challenging of a hike.
In terms of water, there was a water spicket about halfway up and at the top so that was helpful.
Pretty much no shade, wear a hat, bring lots of water bottles to fill up at the top you'll go through them all.
To get to the summit, it ended up being 13.8 miles and 3,698 feet elevation gain.

22 days ago

Clockwise. Worth.

hiking
25 days ago

Highly recommend this hike during the spring. I saw a bajillion wildflowers, hummingbirds, a family of wild turkeys, lizards, green rocks, and a rattlesnake. Watch out for snakes and poison oak! It’s a long, moderate hike. The trail map on this app takes you to the lower summit but if you want to go to the upper summit it’s only about a half mile added distance. The dirt on the descent was dry so I fell on my butt a couple of times but it was all worth it (I did it counter clockwise).

hiking
1 month ago

Great long hike. Don’t forget to get a pen abc $6 cash with you. You need to fill a form. They don’t have a pen there. Definitely do clockwise, start early to beat the heat. Gets pretty hot and lot of the trail is exposed. Carry lot of water. Ascending gets very slippery sometimes. Wear good shoes; and a hiking stick is recommended. The wildflowers are in full bloom and some are very fragrant. The water up at the summit is not bad. Also the visitor’s center is cool and they have a little walk through museum, which is cute. They also have water, cold drinks, ice cream for sale. On the way back is all fire roads after juniper campground. Cannot imagine doing it counter clockwise. Fun hike!!

hiking
1 month ago

worth the afford.

1 month ago

I did this hike. it was awesome ha ha I did it all the way up. joe Smith on 4-28-18

1 month ago

Definitively, do it clockwise. Really nice trail going up but be very careful as there is a lot of poison oak along the way. I saw rabbits, hummingbirds, lizards, deer, raccoon and even a snake! Going down is most of the time a smooth ride but the trail is not as nice, as it is very wide (fire road), but despite this it is very interesting as the scenery is different then going up. Took me 5:40hours without counting the breaks.

hiking
1 month ago

I did it backwards. About 1/3 of the way up, I took a wrong turn and it cost me elevation. I am in good shape, but this being my 2nd hike, it was challenging as I inched toward the summit at the end. Round trip was 14.5 miles and 4,600 elevation gain.

The views were beautiful as the wild flowers were just starting to bloom.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. Very rigorous trail, we did it in reverse so very steep climb to start the day with a gentle slope to end it. This trail does not actually take you all the way to the summit, that's another 0.46 miles and ~200 feet of elevation gain. Overall we tracked around 15.0 miles with a few wrong turns and a hike to the summit.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Especially loved Eagle Peak. The route (excluding the short detour in my recording) is closer to 13.5 miles as opposed to the 11.9 miles stated on the hike profile. There are water fountains at the top of Mount Diablo to refill water bottles, but still bring lots of water.

hiking
2 months ago

Longer than what's on allTrail(11.9), I did it in 13.5 miles, so be prepared. The first 1-2 miles are very flat and nicely shaded, but never be fooled by this part. A little before 2 miles it started to ascent for 4 miles over 3000 ft.
Descent from the summit was challenging in terms of protecting knees and techniques of going downhill, there were a bunch of very steep descent.
The last climb to Eagle Peak was brutal, especially after almost 10 miles, but short. After Eagle Peak was again very steep descent. Trekking poles and knee protector are recommended.
It was a nice trail, beautiful, and a nice workout! Go for it!

2 months ago

nice hike but very challenging.

hiking
2 months ago

Excellent views.. Gotto see a lot of wild Flowers and birds. Gets pretty hard on the knees, on the way back down. Doing it clockwise is a good suggestion that I read in the reviews. The terrain is pretty rocky, take care.
Total distance : 13.9 miles
Elevation: 3730 ft

hiking
2 months ago

I'm in the area on vacation with my family, and they needed a rest day. so I took a modified version of this loop. around Mitchell rock trail, through eagle peak to bare Ridge. Then out to north peak from prospectors gap, and to the summit.

I met up with an impromptu trail buddy, and we descended through juniper trail down to Mitchell canyon road. my total mileage was 15.2, and I'm bushed. This is a fantastic place to hike, and kudos to my trail buddy who won't be named. If it weren't for the intellectual conversation we shared on the return journey, I probably would have been miserable.

Also, there was an abundance of wildlife to see. Birds of unending variety, rabbits, squirrels and even a few blacktail deer.

hiking
2 months ago

This hike was spectacular! We did this after not having hiked for a while so it was a great workout. We went counterclockwise first, as this was very steep and going down would have been hard going on the knees and toes. Nonetheless, my thighs and calves were burning up the ascent and we had to take some breaks. Had great views, passed through forested areas, streams and vistas. I really loved this hike! The point at the summit near the observatory was a bit anticlimactic as there were many people who just drove to the point and it didn't feel as "one with nature", but I wouldn't have felt right not making it to the summit. Overall, it was a great hike and highly recommended.

2 months ago

We did it way back in July of 2016. OMG the summer heat just about killed us. Seriously, we ran low on water and barely made to the summit but when we got there it was all worth it. We took a long break bought some ice cream bars and cold water and layed down to relax. We started at Mitchell Canyon and was curious so we ended up 14. 25 miles. Going back in two days this time in March weather and forecast says sunny and 68 degrees. Sounds great can't wait!

hiking
3 months ago

I wouldn't say this is an easy hike but if you are contemplating whether you should do this or not due to all the people saying it's hard, just go do it man.

My buddie and I got to the top in 3hr and down in 1.5hr. What more do I have to say?

3 months ago

Great day of hiking celebrating another friend hitting “Mile 60 on the trail of Life!” Our first time hiking Mt Diablo- tips: Check weather before you go- we layered up and glad we did as the wind was in full force as we approached the Summit - go CLOCKWISE when making this hike, the fire road is much easier coming down ( not near as pretty- but easier) plan on 8 hours. Including a couple “snack and map” breaks, pictures and lunch it took us 7 hours 41 minutes. Challenging however doable.. We used hiking poles and found them beneficial. BEAUTIFUL NATURE at every turn!

hiking
3 months ago

4 months ago

great trail. beautiful views, good elevation gain, amazing wild flower scents in spring.

backpacking
4 months ago

Second half of two day overnighter. Incredible mountain. Challenging and Beautiful.

backpacking
4 months ago

Day one hike to the summit overnight backpacking

hiking
5 months ago

Amazing trail, and do walk the trail clockwise! Also, remember to bring cash for the $6 parking fee. They require you to put exactly $6 cash into a envelope.

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome trail! Beautiful scenery, and great views from the top. Trail signs are bit confusing so read them closely.

5 months ago

Very hard hike. Do it only if you are in very good shape.
Doing the loop clockwise is the way to go.

6 months ago

Hike up to the summit then ran back down on thanksgiving morning. One of the best holidays I can remember!

hiking
7 months ago

Figure Eight Loop to the Summit and back. Excellent hike. Highly recommended!

hiking
7 months ago

Hiked it on Sat. Awesome hike. I was glad I read on a review here to go in clockwise direction. Only way to go, get the steep rocky single track done then have a mellow hike back on the fire roads. I’d have not enjoyed coming back down the rocky single track.
Was impressed by the diverse ecosystems on the mountain. Stop by the visitors center at trailhead and pick up free printed directions. I also bought the Hikers Guide book which was put together by volunteers who have extensive experience on the mountain. I’m excited to see how many hikes and trails there are at Diablo.
My only gripe is the parking lot doesn’t open till 8:00 which is a late start for long hikes.
Next time maybe the Five Peaks Trek. 14.5 miles, 6280 cumulative climb. Page 36 in guide book.

8 months 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!

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