Great singletrack will take you a couple of miles down to Prospector's Gap. From here it is all fire roads. Take a left here and proceed down to Deer Flat. CAUTION is advised here, the first time I rode this, I let gravity take over a bit too much and after regaining control had reached a max speed of 45mph. Further down the Mtn. you will do some short climbs, trivial. In one section the trail drops very steeply but smoothly, I have reached 50mph here. WATCH OUT for hikers and horses!!! Continue down to Mitchell Canyon. At the end you will run into smooth rolling fire road, more like a highway and continue to the ranger station and staging area. You can either ride back to your car at the North Gate or have a car waiting. To get back ride out the road, only one, into Clayton. Take a left at the first stop sign onto Lone Pine ride about two miles out to Ygnacio Valley Road and go left again up over the hill then down to Oak grove Road, it should look familiar here as you go left and retrace your drive in to your car. Everyone, Feel free to correct me on details, it has been a while since I rode here.
Take Ygnacio Valley from the I680/24 junction into Walnut Creek, about 3 miles to Oak grove road. Go right on Oak Grove towards the mountain. Follow the signs to the North Gate entrance. Park here and ride in for free or pay $5 to enter then park Either way, EARN the miles of awesome downhill by RIDING up. Ride up the road about 8-9 miles to a turnout in a left hair-pin near the top. Here you will get on the North Ridge trail.
Summary: For adrenaline junkies seeking great views of the Bay Area.
Definitely an aerobic workout. Roughly 3200 ft of elevation gained w/ some long stretches inclines. The last 850 or so is on paved road. The downhill from Devil's elbow (North Peak Trail) is pretty techinical w/ lots of loose rocks...for the strong intermediate types and advance riders. On the way down to Prospector Gap road, you can get some serious speed 40+. Be warned though, lots of rocks and ruts combined w/ steep grades can lead to some serious injury. Having disc brakes is a very good investment for this ride :)
Recommended Route: Mitchell Canyon Rd -> Deer Flat-> Summit Rd (paved) to Deivils Elbow-> North Peak Trail-> Prospector Gap Rd-> Donner Canyon Rd-> Bruce Lee Trail
Roughly 7.7 miles to the Summit, 15 miles round trip.
Review Date March 31, 2003
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Visitors rate this review 3.00 of 5,
Reviewed by: Been_jammin
, from Bay Area (transplant fr. TX)
Summary: I took my trusty singlespeed to Mt Diablo. Wasn't sure what I'd find, but figured it'd be a good workout. 32:18 with 177.5 cranks on a full rigid bike is a good gear for most of the fireroads and all the legal singletrack I found. I didn't quite make the climb to the summit on Summit Trail - the last fireroad I was on was too loose for my rear tire to maintain traction. I could only walk it at 2.x mph and ride it at 3.x when I could feather the torque just enough... didn't want the last 1.5 mi to the top to take so long, so I turned around. The fireroads are mostly loose so I was taking it easy, but still hit 31.7 mph. Full rigid over embedded sandstone outcroppings at that speed is fun but amounts to tempting fate. Thanks-you, Fate, for smiling on me yesterday. I'll go back. A single-day "private" epic would be to climb fireroads/st from South Gate to the named rides in the park ranger lit., then back down to the car, refill water bottles and explore Green Valley Regional Trail and back to car for refill, then climb that paved road to the top. Even better on a SS! The point of these trails is climbing and views. In the downhill direction the trails are not interesting enough to justify the carnage possible due to the speeds possible. 5 star climbing workout; 3 star interest (and that only due to GVRT and views); ave = 4
Recommended Route: Climb it all!! Who wants to go 40 mph on a graded fireroad?? I parked at the South Gate entrance gate and started at the bottom of the Summit Trail. Don't miss the first trail turn-off to the left a 1/4 mi in/up. That's a little bit of the Green Valley Regional Trail (bikes O.K.) and is the best singletrack I found at Mt Diablo. Ride it out and back for 1/2 mi or so in each direction - it features several "rollers" for a warm up... reminds me of riding in TX. Then, follow the Summit Trail as far up as you can. You can take fireroads and/or pavement to North Peak...
Other recommended trails in the same area: Green Valley Regional Trail
Review Date August 19, 2002
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Please Select
Reviewed by: MB
, from San Anselmo
Summary: This is a serious workout to the North Peak trail. The first couple of miles are gentle uphill. From there it is about a 1000 foot climb to Deer Flat in probably about 1.25 miles. It's pretty steep. Once you hit Deer Flat, take the trail that veers to the right. This is Deer Flat trail to Camp Juniper. It starts out unassuming at first, but be prepared for something called "The Widowmaker". This will put your heart rate at or near 100% of maximum for about 3 min. After that though, it's much easier to the top. It will be all paved road from there. Go to the top and check out the view. Seriously, gotta be one of the best around on a clear day!!! Head back down to Devils Elbow and make a left on to the single trac. This is North Peak Tr. This is legal single trac as there is a sign posted allowing us to use it. Be prepared for 2 things. Some hikers always have to say something so just remind them of the signs allowing us to use the trail. Be nice though as we don't want to loose this trail too. The second thing, if you fall, fall TOWARD the mountain otherwise you will fall down the mountain a long way! You are at 3500 feet at this trail. It is steep in spots so be careful. Make a left at prospectors gap and head down the hill. Fire trail but steep in spots and like quick sand now. My tire and rim sank in the dirt. Turn right at Donner Canyon. This trail has some strait downhill where you can hit mega speed. At the bottom of Donner Canyon, turn left back to mitchell canyon. I think this is an excellent ride but you must be in shape. MOUNTAIN BIKE SHAPE. Your road bike will not help you here!! You have been warned!!
Recommended Route: Start at Mitchell Canyon and follow the suggested route thru deer flat and camp juniper to the summit. North Peak trail is at devils elbow.
Review Date July 6, 2002
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: chris
, from wc, california
Summary: ya gotta have tons of stamina fer this ride and the downhill is a b!tch. i was going into a hairpin and mi bike slide of the d@mn mountain! its a very had trail in general and gives you a good workout.
Recommended Route: forgot how i got there =(
Review Date March 30, 2002
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Ridden Once
Reviewed by: Harry
, from Lafayette
Summary: Probably one the best endurance rides in the Bay Area, in one large, self contained area. We ran into a coyote patiently standing by the side of the road on the way up Mitchell Canyon....lots of poison oak opportunities as well as birds and tons of squirrels. There are plenty of gorgeous views, and you earn every one of them. In some of the descriptions of this trail, the 1000ft climb up to Deer Flat was on so-called "switch back" trails...Well, some are almost vertical switchbacks....Not much terrain relief until you get all the way to Juniper Campground, where we got some much needed water....The weather was about 80 degrees (late March 2002), and we both got farmers tans. Some of the downhill riding is quite intense, specifically in vertical drop and terrain. Much of the ground is loose gravel and one wrong move, well, we've all experienced that outcome. I did find some of the trail signs puzzling....whereas you find a name for a "road", you can also see in small print, the name of a "trail"....but its also hard to miss the general direction you are heading given the visibility and general contours of the mountain. Bring lots of water, and even some energy bars for the top to give you the kick for Devil's Elbow. Despite the length and heat, I definitely had a great experience, and will return to this trail. Beginners and those without considerable stamina should not apply.
Recommended Route: We took the Mitchell Canyon Trail right from the staging ground, and followed the route suggested in the review we read here (at mtb.com)....Up to Deer Flat (el. 2120), up the two brutal climbs towards Juniper Campground, and made a left onto the road and eventually got up to Devil's Elbow, but only after going all the way to the Summit (el. 3849) for the view and a look at whether there were any singletrack trails down from there, connecting to Devil's Elbow (there are none which allow bikes). Devil's Elbow, on singletrack all the way down to Prospector's Gap, Meridian fire trail, Donner Canyon, took a little single track detour towards the end of the Donner Trail, but ultimately went towards the Regency entrance, the Bruce Lee Trail (bad signage), and returned to Mitchell Canyon staging area.