Mount Diablo Vertical Challenge

Half-Marathon and 10k on trails we love. A tough race, and a stunning view of the East Bay.

Mt Diablo State Park

September 16, 2017


The ultimate test in Scena Performance’s Vertical Challenge Series, the Mount Diablo Vertical Challenge promises to push even the most seasoned trail runner to the max. Mount Diablo is the San Francisco Bay Area’s most iconic peak, looming nearly 3,800 feet above sea level. The nearly 13-mile Vertical Challenge course is indeed devilish, driving you up and over 5 incrementally higher peaks in the first 7 miles before rewarding you with heavenly views from Mount Diablo’s summit, where geologists claim you can see more of earth’s surface than anywhere outside of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

After a roller-coaster descent, rest your weary quads and replenish with power recovery snacks and drinks. Please note, we strongly recommend carrying at least 40 ounces of water because of the remote, challenging course.

Mt. Diablo Vertical Challenge 2016

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  • Mount Diablo Vertical Challenge

    By design, the Mount Diablo Vertical Challenge travels some of the steepest and most technical trails of Mount Diablo State Park, ensuring you a quad-busting, heart-pounding adventure to the summit and back down to where you began. Starting at the Mitchell Canyon Staging Area, the 13-mile run quickly begins its ascent upon the first turn. You’ll follow Mitchell Rock trail up and over Twin Peaks, then follow Eagle Peak trail for a rocky climb to the top of Eagle Peak, and the fun doesn’t stop there! The course continues up to the Bald Ridge Trail, climbing over Bald Knob through high meadow vistas. Next up, North Peak trail! Not to be outdone, this section offers up its own mix of pleasure and pain, bringing you to the Devil’s Elbow for the final summit charge. After refueling at the aid station and taking in sweeping views, you will begin tracing your steps back down the mountain. You can let the wheels loose as you roll down the same trails until you reach the Meridian Ridge Fire Road intersection, where you will divert onto the downhill-friendly Back Creek trail. From there, all that stands between you and the finish is one last short, but tough, uphill push. Due to the remote and steep nature of the trails there will only be one aid station at the Summit. We strongly recommend carrying at least 40 ounces of water.

Start Time

9 am

Getting Here

The event will begin at the Mitchell Canyon Staging Area

Where to Stay

Mt. Diablo does have a campground, but it’s a fair distance from the start line. Campground gates to exit the campground do not open until 8am. There are a number of affordable hotels nearby.


We will have awards for the top 3 overall male and female finishers. Runners who complete all of the races in Scena Performance's Vertical Challenge Series will receive a special survivor souvenir.

Drop Bags


Time Limit



Is there a pre-race packet pickup?

No. Runner check-in will be held from 7:30am-8:45am race morning.

I am new to trail running-will I get lost!?

We welcome rookie trail runners and make every effort to ensure a great experience. The courses will be thoroughly marked, and each turn will have multiple ribbons along with a sign pointing you in the right direction. There will be no areas where you'll need to guess. We haven't lost anyone yet!

Are there finisher awards?

While we do offer a hearty congratulations, along with various race swag, we strive to emphasize the experience over the medals, and thus devote more energy toward the things that will make the race one to remember, including an elaborate post-run recovery setup where you can connect with your fellow finishers. We will have custom awards for the top 3 overall male and female finishers.

Can I hike the event?

Yes, we believe everyone should get a chance to experience these beautiful trails, regardless of pace. Be prepared- this is a very challenging trail.

Do you need volunteers?

Our races depend on the generous spirit of the running community to ensure every participant is well supported. Volunteers will receive a free entry to a future Scena Performance event. Please fill out the volunteer form to indicate your interest and we'll get back to you with more information.

Mount Diablo Vertical Challenge