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North Peak Loop via Donner Canyon is a 12.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Clayton, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

Length 12.1 mi Elevation gain 3,530 ft Route type Loop
Hiking Nature trips Running Views Wild flowers Wildlife No dogs
Description
Waypoints (3)
Contact
Tips

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.

Mount Diablo State Park page, California state parks http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=517 Mount Diablo Interpretive Association's list of top Mount Diablo Hikes http://www.mdia.org/hiking.htm Park profile at Two-Heel Drive http://www.tommangan.net/twoheeldrive/index.php/mount-diablo-state-park Summit Post guide to Mount Diablo http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/150863/mount-diablo.html Bay Area Hiker's Mount Diablo hikes http://www.bahiker.com/eastbayhikes/mdsp/diablo.html

This is a truly strenuous hike; don't try it if you're not up for long miles with lots of climbing and tricky terrain. Watch for poison oak on narrow single-tracks. Rattlesnakes may dwell in rocky areas. If you see one, give it plenty of distance. What to Bring: A map, available at park entrances and from the State Park Store Plenty of water; there's none on the trail (it can be filtered from streams, but only in winter and spring, before they run dry.) Trekking poles if you use them. Sunscreen: most of this hike is unshaded. A windbreaker: it gets very blustery at the top. Layers: you'll sweat all the way up, so you could catch a chill on the way down. A first-aid kit with blister treatment: the hard, dry miles can do a number on your feet. Snacks to replenish your energy supply.

Weather
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Reviews (47)
Photos (2822)
Recordings (31)
Completed (185)
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Tyler Hester
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

Wonderful trail - kudos to the park for such a beautiful route!

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Chip Skate
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 25, 2019
Hiking

Map is wrong. No parking except residents as of September. Need to access from Mitchell Canyon . Support the park and get bathrooms and water at Mitchell canyon. Tickets given out on Regency dr

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Elvis Lieban
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 7, 2019
Hiking

High quality hike if you want to get some elevation gain.

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Caroline Celaya
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 14, 2019
HikingRocky
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Lesley Stolz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 18, 2019
Hiking

Difficult but a good training hike. Parking at Mitchell canyon avoids the neighborhood parking but adds a couple of miles.

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Yonas Habte
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2018

I underestimated this trail. it was challenging. You will be rewarded with a nice view once you reach North peak. start early, carry enough water. I think the hike is more like 10.5 miles.

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Scott Feuer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 26, 2018
Hiking

Beautiful Spring Day in February!

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Gabe & Crystal Sumner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarDecember 10, 2017
Hiking

To each their own, but this hike seldom felt isolated enough from the city that surrounds it. After climbing 3000 feet to North Peak you're rewarded with...a radio tower. In the distance you can hear the road and the gun range. And across the way, Mt. Diablo, which people can drive up. You'll also hike past a few houses on the way up. I don't mind sweating to climb a mountain, but it would be nice to be rewarded with a reprieve from civilization. Not really happening on this hike.

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Bill Crain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 2, 2017
Hiking

Awesome... Mt Diablo was one of my go to hiking areas close to my home when I lived in Concord. For me, the 3rd most difficult hike I've done in the Bay Area.

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John Okemah
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2017
Running

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.

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Cassandra Goyal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 16, 2017

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

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Matt Frost
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 19, 2017

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

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Sonny Vigil
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 12, 2017
Hiking

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

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Greg Grothaus
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 13, 2016
Hiking

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

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Rachel W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 31, 2016
Hiking

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!

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Chris Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 17, 2016

Extremely hard...

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Daniel Olshansky
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 2, 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!

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Sterling User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 20, 2014

This was my first experience in Mt. Diablo State Park. I was looking for a good all day hike to take in and this one fit the bill. The ascent isn't very bad. There were a few spots where I got fairly gassed, but was able to complete it without too much trouble. The descent on the other hand was brutal. Steep trails with loose rock that cover most of the descent had my knees screaming at me toward the end. Coming back down the road right before North Peak summit was downright scary, very steep and almost all loose rock. If I do this again (and I probably will) I think I'll skip that ascent, the North Peak is pretty marred by radio towers and such anyway. The highlight of the trip for me was actually Mt. Olympia summit, it's just a summit should be, nothing else there with beautiful views all around you. Most of the trails are very cozy and beautiful, but be careful of the poison oak which is very close to the trail in certain places. Overall a very fun hike. The descent makes me knock it down a star due to the sheer amount of loose rocky steep trails destroying my ankles and knees.

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AllTrails User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 15, 2014

I made the mistake of going to the wrong gate but decided to follow the same trails with some adjustments. I parked at Juniper campground and went down all the way down via some other trails & back creek trail to start over. Climbing on Olympia peak with tired legs was tough. North peak has a very tough 200 yards section where I slipped once while coming down but no damage done :) North peak to main summit was OK but it felt very tough as I was exhausted by then. I am giving it 4 stars as the trail is not well marked at times and there are no restrooms or places to rest till you reach main peak summit. Overall it was very satisfying.

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Pete Palmer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 1, 2013

I've done this hike twice and thoroughly enjoyed it. The trail is steep and challenging, particularly the last few hundred yards up the fire road (how the hell they get ANY vehicle up this is beyond me) is SO steep that all of our group slipped and fell on the almost 45 degree slope on our way down. But I would like to urge readers in search of the steepest climbs in the Bay Area to visit Henry Coe State Park, which has several climbs including the infamous "shortcut" up to Mount Sizer, Steer Ridge, and more that are just as steep, longer, and harder. There's a saying that one does not go to Henry Coe to train for the Sierras, but one goes to the Sierras to train for Henry Coe that is not too far off!

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Ruslan Moskalenko
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 17, 2013

Just came back from that trail, including the main peak of Mt. Diablo - 14 miles in total. One thing people need to remember is if there are a few routes to the top, the shortest one is likely to be the steepest. This route sounds scary because of the mileage, but out the really steep parts are about a mile in total, the rest is fairly mild. The views were amazing. It's good to wear layers because there are some cold and windy areas and some hot and dry. Some trails on the way back are cut into clay, so I guess they could get very muddy after rain. Overall, it's a great way to spend a day, highly recommended.

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Amy Seeburger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 9, 2012
First to Review

This was a beautiful hike - but the description wasn't kidding when it said it's strenuous and a tough climb to the top. Once you get there, the view is amazing. It was the perfect temperature despite being early Summer. The way back down (option 1) is still a tough scramble down and over loose terrain and at times, steep declines. If I would do anything differently, it would be to bring trekking poles - these would've been huge and prevented the few slides I took when getting back down. Overall, beautiful. But definitely make sure you're in good enough shape to handle it.

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Danielle Sinclair
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 21, 2020
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Scott Feuer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 17, 2020
Hiking
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Adi Navale
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 14, 2020
Hiking
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Matthew Tackitt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 8, 2019
Hiking
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Phalcon SixTwo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 11, 2019
Hiking
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Tristan Gallagher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 29, 2019
Hiking
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Annie Barry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 22, 2019
Hiking
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Karthik Puthraya
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 20, 2019
Hiking
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