- Location: Mount Diablo State Park
- Route: From the Regency Gate, take the Back Creek Trail and begin your climb to Murchio Gap. At Murchio Gap, take Meridian Ridge Road down to Donner Canyon Road. Follow Donner Canon Road to Tickwood Trail. Take a left on to Tickwood Trail. Keep on Tickwood Trail until you reconnect with Back Creek Trail. At Back Creek Trail, turn right and hike back to the parking area.
- Mileage: 7.92 Miles, 1990 feet elevation gain. First 3.04 miles is the climb, then you descend.
- Difficulty Level: Strenuous, with steep climbs
- Description: The first half mile is a wide fire road that soon connects with Back Creek. The Trail starts through hilly, open grasslands, with mistletoe filled oaks and a few Eucalyptus. You might see wandering wild Turkeys. Further along are rolling hills covered with oaks on your left, and more oaks and buckeyes on your right.
After .6 miles, the trail turns to single track and starts to climb. In the winter, rusty yellows and reds from rocks and autumn leaves mix with the energetic green of emerging plants. Small rocks and stones fill the trails, mixing with ferns and mosses. In the winter, there may be flowering milk maids along the trail, and clusters of fruity toyon. Continuing on Back Creek Trail, past Meridian Point Trail, Coulter Pines mix with Toyon, and eventually, clusters of Manzanita. Walking through winter flowering manzanita is an experience. As one of the few winter sources of food for buzzing insects and hummingbirds, manzanitas attract a lot of hummingbird and insect attention. Buzzes and clicks seem to come from all around. The muscular red arms of the manzanita tangle among each other in the groves. Murchio Gap is a great place to take in the views and rest among the boulders. The hike continues down Meridian Ridge Road, but I continued for a short hike further, up Bald Ridge Trail to explore more manzanitas. Returning back, follow Meridian Ridge Road, a steep fire road that runs along the ridge line. The views from this trail are rich, and ghost pines and flowering manzanita stand out on the hillsides and canyons. Donner Canyon Road also has clusters of manzanita and toyon. The Tickwood Trail is a compelling shortcut back to Regency Gate. Here, oak groves create a robust habitat for many species. Enjoy the variety on this spectacular hike.
- Trail Map
- Trailhead and Parking: Regency Gate