Continuing on our weekend hike streak, I requested a “hike that felt like a summit” to David. He did a little searching on All Trails in the Mt. Diablo State Park area and landed on a loop starting at the Mitchell Canyon Camping area in Clayton, going to Mitchell Rock then summiting Eagle Peak (optional out and back), and looping back on Eagle Peak Trail. All Trails touted Eagle Peak as “some of the best views in the Bay area” and they were correct – it was one of my favorite hikes for views in this area so far! We’re not sure the exact distance or elevation, but we’d guess around 1500’ and 4+ miles.
The trailhead was a 40-45 min drive from the Berkeley area and the entrance fee was $6; the lot was empty around 8 AM, but was pretty full when we returned. There is a small visitor center trailer where you can get maps of the various routes and talk to a ranger.
The hike starts out in some fields, gaining elevation and sights of the nearby quarry/mining operation.
David always carries Nathan, mainly because he doesn’t trust me and my clumsy-ness but also because he is much stronger – he has gotten so strong hiking with 30+ lbs on his back! Backpacking would be a walk in the park these days…
Past Mitchell Rock there is a clearing with a gorgeous view of the park. A special view I will remember! This would be a great lunch spot.
And naturally a great potty spot. (I carry the folding potty and had great success with it on this hike, even though we were nervous for accidents!)
We almost didn’t go to the top of Eagle Peak, but decided what the heck, we’re already here. In retrospect, not surprising for us to do extra mileage. But getting to the top was worth it. We could see views from the Oakland/Berkeley hills to Mt. Tam, to up north past Benecia. It was a great 360. Oh, and hardly anyone on the trail!
The only cons of this hike were that David did see a tick on the way down (he flicked it off his arm before it got him) and there was a lot of loose gravel/rock that made it “slide-y” on the way down. We were happy to have our hiking poles.
Apart from that, I highly recommend this hike! To top the morning off, we stopped by the Walnut Creek Whole Foods and they had a great hot bar (two thumbs up!) as well as some pretty sweet samples of cupcakes, fresh pressed juice they were handing out plus a nice outside patio. Score! I think we will do this hike-WF routine more often.
Have you hiked in the Mt. Diablo area and do you have any recommendations?