Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Trip Report: Emilie’s Training Hike Mount Diablo State Park

Ksenya and Emilie on the North Peak Trail on our way to Mt. Olympia.

My friend Emilie is training to climb Denali — a.k.a. Mount McKinley — in Alaska this summer, so she invited a few of her hiking friends to join her on a training hike in Mount Diablo State Park. I was hesitant to go as it sounded a little ambitious for me but Emilie assured me that she would be carrying a 35 pound pack thus slowing her down a little bit.

The weather forecast being for rain, several of Emilie’s friends dropped out, but her friend Ksenya and I weren’t afraid of a little water and mud. It ended up being quite nice weather for a strenuous hike as it was breezy and cool with partial cloudiness. Blue sky would pop in and out between the clouds making for some nice views here and there. The only drag was the sticky clay mud in some areas, but I just pretended the extra mud weight clinging to my boots was snowshoes weighing my feet down — training for next week’s snowcamping trip.

Dayhike Stats:
  • Date: January 24, 2009
  • Location: CA, Clayton, Mount Diablo State Park
  • Mileage: ~10.25 mi round trip
  • Elevation: +/-3,578'; lo pt 530'; hi pt 3,306'
  • Trailhead: end of Regency Dr., City of Clayton Open Space
  • TH Lat/Long.: 37.92208099, -121.9267883
  • TH Facilities: none
  • Trails Hiked: Donner Canyon Road, Meridian Ridge Road, Prospectors Gap Road, North Peak Road, North Peak Trail, Mt Olympia Road, Olympia Trail, Cardinet Oaks Road, and back to Donner Canyon Road.
  • Route Type: lollipop loop
  • Trail Terrain: mostly steep fire road; some rocky/gravely single track.
  • Flora: oak woodland/savanna, foothill woodland with gray pine, chaparral, & riparian; lots of mistletoe on oaks in Clayton Open Space & daffodils along Donner Canyon Road.
  • Why Go?: nice views to the north and east of Clayton, Pittsburg, Antioch, the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers and beyond; lots of elevation gain = good backpacking/mountain climbing training; landmarks visited: Meridian Point, Prospectors Gap, and Mt Olympia
  • Caveats: steep and long — not for the beginner or couch potato or those with bad knees. Fire roads are exposed to the elements. Lots of sticky clay mud when wet.
  • Official Website: California State Parks Mount Diablo
  • Other Websites: Save Mount Diablo & Mount Diablo Interpretive Association
  • View my photo album.


  1. Oh, you went the HARD way....from Donner. I usually go via Mitchell Canyon, which is probably longer but makes it possible for me. I was up there the 23rd doing something with ABC News (yet to be aired). North Peak and Olympia make a fine test. Good job finishing that loop!

  2. Bob: This was the first time for me going out of the Regency Drive Trailhead. My friend Emilie has done this route dozens of times for her mountaineering training. I've gone out of Mitchell Canyon for a couple of hikes and I can see how it could be preferable grade-wise. Either way any of the peaks in Mt Diablo S.P. are not for those without perseverance! Unless of course they just drive up to the top...cheaters.
    P.S. let us know when your ABC spot is going to air!