North Peak Loop via Donner Canyon

HARD 25 reviews
#13 of 27 trails in

North Peak Loop via Donner Canyon is a 10.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Clayton, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
10.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3464 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Skip the summit crowds and see Mount Diablo's North Peak. Strenuous 10-mile hike. If you're bugged by the existence of a parking lot atop Mount Diablo -- the East Bay's signature peak -- you're probably just the type to check out nearby North Peak, which gets far fewer visitors and offers just as many awesome vistas. My favorite path to North Peak is definitely the hard way: five miles and over 3,000 feet of climb on some of the steepest trails in the Bay Area. The struggle has rewards beyond knowing you've walked from near sea level to one of the highest accessible points in the region. In springtime, the hillsides light up with wildflowers; in winter, rains cleanse the skies so you can see the snow-capped Sierra peaks hundreds of miles away; in autumn, tarantulas prowl the trails in search of mates. Summer's about the only time when it's too hot to attempt this hike. This hike also has a bonus: a jaunt along the Mount Olympia Trail, notorious as one of the steepest in the Bay Area. If you've got the legs for it, this is among the East Bay's must-hike routes. For peak-bagging purists, a hike to the main summit adds another three miles and 800 feet of elevation gain.

trail running
15 days ago

Great trail run up 4-5 peaks. Some really steep ascents where trekking poles will help. Hot! Bring plenty of water. Got lost coming in and ended up doing a few more miles-lost GPS signal somewhere. Well worth your efforts.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

I wish there was a rating system that included safe to do alone, bring a friend, etc. Did a modified version of this today (cont. to summit & returned to Regency via Juniper, Deer Flat, Mitchell Canyon, Oak, & Murchio) because I didn't think my knees would like more rock surfing on Bald Ridge/Back Creek. Had a handful of "I might die here today" moments on Mt. Olympia - the single track is pretty overgrown & loaded with poison oak, in addition to loose gravel. And the 1/m mile out & back to North Peak was flat out dangerous alone... but view were magnificent :)

hiking
3 months ago

4 months ago

Challenging! There was Poison ivy around mile 2-3 (where the path was very thin). Views were amazing!

hiking
5 months ago

5 months ago

This is a good cardiovascular workout. The views are amazing.

hiking
5 months ago

Very intense but so rewarding. Amazing g hike with 360 views of the bay.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike. I preferred it a few years ago when areas had recently been burnt out, but it's fantastic nonetheless. I had a hard time finding parking when I went, so I added some detail about where to go on my trip report here, which may help others: https://gregable.com/2014/01/mt-olympia-hike-part-of-mt-diablo-state.html

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike! It's fun to hit the three different peaks. We hiked on a ridiculously hot day so the water fountains and restrooms right before the accent to Mt. Diablo saved us. I feel like the views from Mt. Olympia are just as good as the ones from Mt. Diablo so if you only have time for the first section then it's still worth it. I think the most interesting part of the hike was through the meadow between Olympia and North Peak, really awesome yellow fields on a narrow path. We ended up using our headlamps for the last hour on the way down, it's really tree covered so if you even think you might be heading down around dusk be sure to have a light!

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Views from the top of Mt.Olympia are great. Made the mistake of not carrying sunscreen or a hat - never repeating that! Gets really hot on a lot of parts of the trail since they are quite exposed. View from the summit of North Peak are not much to write home about. But the single track from Mt.Olympus to the North Peak is gorgeous!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Extremely hard...

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

hiking
Sunday, May 15, 2016

Saturday, May 02, 2015

This hike is definitely not for the weak. While the elevation change is large, but not absurdly high, it is divided into multiple interspersed very steep components that get your heart rate and your legs burning. The trail on which you hike changes from gravel, to rocks, to grass, which keeps the trail from getting stale. If you're also a fan of being out in the sun, then this trail is definitely for you.

A few members of my team could not make it up all the way making us cut the hike short, which speaks to how difficult this hike is; not for beginners. That being said, if you are a regular hiker, this is both a fun, challenging, and rewarding trip!