Start with a long run up Mitchell Canyon, then climb Mount Diablo's high ridges to awesome views at the summit. Descend through chaparral and oak savannas back to the start.
From the Mitchell Canyon staging area, take the Mitchell Canyon Fire Road
south along Mitchell Creek. The trail climbs gently next to the creek for about 2.5 miles, but then climbs steeply up switchbacks with improving views to end at Deer Flat Fire Road
At Deer Flat Fire Road
, turn right and follow the road uphill for a mile. At the junction with Burma Road
, stay left on Deer Flat Fire Road
. Run through Juniper Campground, and then, just before reaching paved Summit Road, find the Juniper Trail.
Take the Juniper Trail uphill for another mile until it ends at a large parking lot. Cross the parking lot and then cross Summit Road.
Find the Summit Trail
across the road and follow it to the summit. There is a parking lot and visitor center on the summit, and it's often busy and crowded. Climb to the top of the observation tower to enjoy the views, then come back down the Summit Trail
. Cross Summit Road again, this time staying on the Summit Trail
, following it down to Devils Elbow on Summit Road.
At Devils Elbow, pick up the North Peak Trail
, enjoying great views of the wilderness of rolling hills to the east.
After a mile, the North Peak Trail
ends at Prospectors Gap. Turn left on Prospector's Gap Fire Road
and follow it downhill for 1.3 miles to where Meridian Ridge Fire Road
branches off to the right.
Turn onto Meridian Ridge Fire Road
and follow it for a steep and sunny mile and a half through the chaparral.
The road ends at an intersection with Donner Canyon Road
and Cardinet Oaks Road
. Take Donner Canyon Road
to the left. Donner Canyon Road
descends along Donner Creek through a landscape that gradually transitions to oaks and grasslands.
About 1.3 miles later, once Donner Canyon Road
has leveled off in the grasslands, turn left on Murchio Road
. Follow it for west for a little less than mile until Oak Road
breaks off to the left.
Follow Oak Road
until it ends at Mitchell Canyon Fire Road
, then turn right on Mitchell Canyon Fire Road
and follow it back to Mitchell Canyon staging area.