Distance: 10 miles. Total elevation gain: 3781 ft. Single track, fire road, hills.

Mt. Diablo is the sentinel peak of the East Bay, offering beautiful, varied ecology and stunning views of the entire Bay Area. And no matter what anyone else tells you there is no better way to experience this magical place than by running Air Force One (AFO). This loop is not for the faint of heart, however, as it is one of the most difficult sustained runs we do. Be alert for mountain lions and rattle snakes, poison oak and ticks. Be cautious of sprains and falls, as bailing out is tricky at many places. Bring lots of water and a sense of adventure. And once you're done you will not regret it: this will be a run by which you measure all others.

The run begins by dropping into the creek bed at the end of the road. The Donner Creek fire road is well used and clearly marked. Follow it South toward the mountain, remaining on the fire road as it turns East and begins to climb steeply up the face. Tough out the climb until you come to the start of the Olympia Trail, about 2 miles into the run. Follow the Olympia trail East, alternately traversing and climbing. You will be exhausted by mile 3, but keep an eye out for the easily-missed singletrack Zippe Trail, which attacks Mt. Olympia directly. Hang in there-you're almost done the main climb! From the height of Mt. Olympia (2800 ft.) you can begin to loosen up. Follow the small rocky singletrack North Peak trail South along the ridge, grinning the whole way as you take in the views. Keep on the technical trail as it climbs again to merge with the North Peak fire road. Follow the road to the right (Southwest) for ~1 mile until the major trail junction. Here is where the really fast and fun part starts. Pick up the clearly-marked Bald Ridge singletrack trail and follow it all the way along the ridge-over rocks, roots, trees, and drop-offs. At the next junction continue heading Northwest on the Eagle Peak trail. Follow Eagle Creek all the way along the ridge over rocks and ledges, taking in views of the Bay the whole way. The trail will drop you sharply back into the valley at the end of about 3 miles. Take the Murchio trail East for about half a mile then head North across the meadow back to the car once the houses come into view. Source

Pack List

  • Running gear
  • Water for sure!
  • Sun block
  • Snacks
Show More
Activities Running, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Scenic

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Explore the Mount Diablo North Peak Trail

Dogs are not allowed here, but horseback riders love this trail network. The trail features wildflowers in the spring, and the occasional creek after winter rains.

20 Saves

Camp at Juniper Campground in Mount Diablo SP

Mount Diablo's summit in Mount Diablo State Park rises to 3,848ft, with Juniper Campground in Mount Diablo SP is at approximately 3,000ft in elevation.

115 Saves

Hike in Mount Diablo's Madrone Canyon

This hike starts at the Rock City area of Mount Diablo State Park. Begin at the Madrone Canyon Trail, hiking southeast towards the Devils Slide trail.

65 Saves