Eagle Peak - Mitchell Canyon Loop, Mt Diablo State Park: Mitchell Canyon Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California
Eagle Peak - Mitchell Canyon Loop - 8.3 miles
Mt Diablo State Park: Mitchell Canyon Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||8.3 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||580' - 2,380' (max elevation on Eagle Peak summit)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,800' net elevation gain (+2,200' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Eagle Peak - Mitchell Canyon Loop - 8.3 Miles Round-Trip
Mount Diablo State Park covers 20,000 acres with elevations from 300' to 3,849' on the eponymous summit. This wide range sees great variation in rainfall, temperature and wind exposure, and accordingly diverse ecological compositions throughout the Park.
The Eagle Peak - Mitchell Canyon Loop leads up and over Eagle Peak via Mitchell Canyon, then down Eagle Peak Trail back to the trailhead. This challenging loop features diverse terrain through canyons and exposed ridges, active wildlife and good views from high points along the way:
From Mitchell Canyon Trailhead, walk through the gate and take Mitchell Canyon Road south on a graded path into Mitchell Canyon. It follows Mitchell Creek to the Road split (0.6 miles : 710'); stay straight on Mitchell Canyon Road.
It winds south for the next 1.4 miles through Mitchell Canyon to a large coast live oak tree above a picnic area next to the creek. The road turns sharply uphill and climbs 1000' in the next 1.5 miles on an open, exposed track.
It gradually bends east (3.5 miles : 1,585') and levels to Deer Flat Road (4.0 Miles : 2,140'). Keep straight on Mitchell Canyon Road, which dips and rises back to the split for Eagle Peak Trail (4.7 miles : 2,325'). Turn left onto Eagle Peak Trail, which heads north on singletrack through tall, dense brush to a high ridge with good views across Mount Diablo.
It climbs then drops to the base of Eagle Peak (5.0 miles : 2,125'), where one final push leads up a rocky cliff face to the level summit (5.5 miles : 2,380').
The Eagle Peak Trail continues over the summit and begins a very steep descent down its north face (6.0 miles : 1,970') to the Mitchell Rock Trail (6.4 miles : 1,695').
Mitchell Rock Trail runs past the Twin Peaks rock formation (7.0 miles : 1,350') on a fully exposed descent to Mitchell Rock (7.6 miles : 1,075').
Enjoy good views from Mitchell Rock (just off trail) and continue down to Oak Road (8.0 miles : 750'). Turn left on Oak Road to Mitchell Canyon Road, which you'll take back to Mitchell Canyon Trailhead to complete the loop (8.3 miles : 580').
- N37 55.195 W121 56.514 — 0.0 miles: Mitchell Canyon Trailhead - 580'
- N37 54.915 W121 56.861 — 0.5 miles: Walking level along Mitchell Canyon Road
- N37 54.837 W121 56.914 — 0.6 miles: Split for Red Road - stay straight - 710'
- N37 54.549 W121 57.015 — 1.0 miles: Continue on Mitchell Canyon Road
- N37 54.206 W121 56.966 — 1.5 miles: Walking adjacent to Mitchell Canyon Creek - 850'
- N37 53.858 W121 56.769 — 2.0 miles: Start fairly steep ascent on road - 970'
- N37 53.721 W121 56.357 — 2.5 miles: Continue ascent - views improving - 1,280'
- N37 53.534 W121 56.330 — 3.0 miles: Trail exposed to elements - continue ascent - 1,585'
- N37 53.331 W121 56.373 — 3.5 miles: Road bending southeast - 1,915'
- N37 53.324 W121 56.031 — 4.0 miles: Deer Flats - 2,140'
- N37 53.683 W121 55.765 — 4.7 miles: Turn left onto Eagle Peak Trail - 2,325'
- N37 53.825 W121 56.017 — 5.0 miles: Base of summit to Eagle Peak - 2,125'
- N37 54.118 W121 56.300 — 5.5 miles: Eagle Peak Summit - 2,380'
- N37 54.370 W121 56.171 — 6.0 miles: Steep descent from Eagle Peak - 1,970'
- N37 54.608 W121 56.234 — 6.4 miles: Bear left onto Mitchell Rock Trail - 1,695'
- N37 54.728 W121 56.238 — 6.5 miles: Twin Peaks rock formation - 1,675'
- N37 54.797 W121 56.462 — 7.0 miles: Descending down Mitchell Rock Trail - 1,350'
- N37 54.955 W121 56.570 — 7.6 miles: Mitchell Rock - 1.075'
- N37 55.087 W121 56.357 — 8.0 miles: Left on Oak Road - 750'
- N37 55.198 W121 56.514 — 8.3 miles: Mitchell Canyon Trailhead - 580'
- Be mindful of fast moving bikes coming down Mitchell Canyon Road.
- The trail has exposed stretches which can be difficult during hot, sunny weather.
- Western rattlesnakes inhabit this area. Stay on designated trails and never place your hands or feet where you can't see them.
- The Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center is great for kids and has displays about various aspects of the park such as geology, wildlife, trails and plant life.
Camping and Backpacking Information
There is no backcountry camping in Mt Diablo State Park, however three campgrounds are available for car camping. Campsite reservations can be made by phone up to seven months or as little as 48 hours in advance by calling 800.444.7275.
- Juniper Campground: (36 sites | 3,000'). Located approximately 2 miles below the summit on Summit Road, Juniper is known for its views.
- Live Oak Campground: (22 sites | 1,450'). Located one mile above the Southgate entrance Station, off Southgate Road. Live Oak is near Rock City. At Rock City one can explore interesting rock formations.
- Junction Campground: (6 sites | 2,200'). Located where Southgate and Northgate meet at the Ranger Station. This campground is situated in an open woodland area. *Available on a first come/first served basis only.
For more info, visit the Mt Diablo Interpretive Association page: http://www.mdia.org/site/park-information/camping
- There is no fishing in Mount Diablo State Park.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $6 self registration fee for entering Mitchell Canyon by car - cash and check only.
- Gates open 8am and close at sunset. Visitors should plan to be in their vehicles by sunset and headed out to avoid being locked in.
- Dogs are not allowed on any trails or fire roads. They are allowed in campground but must be on leash at all times and must be in tent at night.
- No alcohol, hunting or firearms allowed in the park. Violators are always prosecuted as per State policy.
- BICYCLES ARE ALLOWED only on paved roads, fire roads, and designated trails. Speed limit is between 15 - 25 MPH and strictly enforced by patrolling rangers.
Directions to Trailhead
The Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center is located at the end of Mitchell Canyon Road in Clayton, California - within Mt Diablo State Park.
From Highway I-680, take the exit for Ygnacio Valley Road and drive east on Ygnacio Valley Road for just 7.8 miles then turn right onto Clayton Road.
Drive on Clayton Road for .8 miles to Mitchell Canyon Road. Turn right onto Mitchell Canyon Road and drive approx 1.5 miles to the Mt Diablo State Park gate. Pay the fee at the gate then proceed to the parking area directly ahead.
Mount Diablo State Park
96 Mitchell Canyon Road
Clayton, CA 94517
Call 925.838.9225 for the latest recorded information and weather conditions.