Well Rounded

Hike the Grand Loop at Mount Diablo in the East Bay

Epic views, fields of flowers, and ridgeline thrills offering one of the biggest views in the West: Hiking the Grand Loop at Mount Diablo State Park in spring is eye-candy, with reams of poppies and more than 200 miles of California landscape rolling to the snowcapped Sierra.

Head out on a challenging 8.5-mile (round-trip) hike around the East Bay’s tallest peak. The hike is a true thigh-burner with substantial uphill stretches, so be sure to bring lots of energy, and water!

Start at the Juniper Campground parking area on the wildflower-laced Deer Flat Road. Enjoy panoramas from San Francisco to the Farallons, 30 miles offshore.

Gallery image 1 of 5
Gallery image 2 of 5
Gallery image 3 of 5
Gallery image 4 of 5
Gallery image 5 of 5

Descend the trail and make a right on Meridian Ridge to begin the first steep ascent, to the signed spur trail of Eagle Peak. This less-traveled trail is a great adventure on a cool spring day—scuttling and scrambling to the summit, where views burst in all directions—from the Delta and Suisun Bay to Diablo’s North Peak. Return the way you came and continue your loop on Prospector’s Gap Trail. The good news: Parts of Prospector are delightfully shaded. The not so good news: Prospector can kick your butt! It’s a tough haul to the top, but it leads to a grand finale.

The North Peak Trail is one of the most spectacular stretches in the Bay Area, cutting along the mountainside with poppies currently on parade and views sweeping from the far-off Sierra to San Francisco Bay. Hulking boulders en route make good perches for taking it all in. Finish by heading up Summit Trail and across Summit Parking Area to follow Juniper Trail back to your car. Loop du jour!

Note: Several parts of this trial are exposed and get firecracker hot in summer, so we recommend hiking it in spring and getting an early start. The trail gets steep in parts, so wear good shoes. Park at Juniper Campground off Summit Rd. There are two paved roads; walk down the one on the right to Deer Flat Rd. Continue on Deer Flat Rd. for 1.5 miles until Deer Flat. Go Right on Meridian Ridge Rd. Continue for a mile to the Eagle Peak sign. After the side-trip, continue on to Prospector’s Gap Trail. Go right, up the North Peak Trail, then hike up Summit Trail, cross the Summit Parking Area, and Juniper Trail back to your car. No dogs.

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Get Outdoors In Sonoma County This Fall

    Sonoma County's great outdoors includes hike-in beaches, hidden redwoods, and a new zipline-to-treehouse stay. Here are 5 of the best ways to explore outdoors in Sonoma County.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Ride and Seek

    Oceanside breezes, beautiful beaches, a car-free pathway for biking, and beer at the end: You’re on a roll! The San Mateo Coast was made for beach hopping and beer tasting …

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Redwoods, Beach, Banner View!

    Explore among the redwoods in Henry Cowell State Park on this magical 5-mile hike featuring the big trees, a beach, and a beautiful view from an observation deck.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    GOAT Coastal Hike + Sunset

    GOAT (greatest of all time) Sonoma Coast experience? Hike the Kortum Trail, wine taste on a patio overlooking the Russian River, and catch a sensational sunset at, yep, Goat Rock Beach.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden

    Romeo, Romeo, we all know how this goes, but do you know how to go to the Shakespeare Bridge and secret gardens? We’ve got the online do-it-yourself hiking route for you.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Malibu Hike, Canyon, Beach

    Get a highlight reel of the Malibu coastline on a 2.25-mile hike through Leo Carrillo State Park, featuring a canyon climb, Pacific panorama, and a beautiful beach.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    The Highway of Waterfalls

    Ready for a totally refreshing road trip? Hit the Highway of Waterfalls! This stretch of road in Southern Oregon travels alongside the wild and scenic section of the North Umpqua River—and more than a dozen waterfalls.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Suspension Bridge Surprise

    This urban hike in San Diego connects two gardens by way of two spectacular bridges, including the awesome Spruce Street Suspension Bridge built in 1912.

    View