Shell Ridge is located in the heart of Walnut Creek, beginning a short distance from the city center and heading to Mount Diablo. It is the largest open space area of the city and consists of a series of parallel ridges and valleys. Shell Ridge gets its name from the marine fossils left behind when the waters of the ocean that once filled it drained. There are lots of opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding along ridge tops, stream ways, and hillsides.
"Meandering" is a custom-made concept for describing the collection of trails that form this large open space area. Easy parking in front of Indian Valley Elementary School gave some time before a person arrived to research the trail map board. All the paths had markers denoting their names, but there was nothing further after the initial signs to show visitors where anything led meander so we did. If someone roamed up, down, around and through cattle gates from trail to trail, thinking someone were moving in a giant circle that would take them back to our cars ' vicinity. Yes, that was effective.
People will look downhill after around two hours of meandering. But on the other hand, there remained a challenge: a series of ridge-paths leading up, up, and up a few more. Every time a person thought it was going to the top, a new series of ridges introduced themselves as soon as somebody got there. So many times it happened that it became quite comical.
In winter the trails get slippery. In some parts of the park there are cattle grazing. It gets super hot early or before sunset in the summer-go, and brings lots of water. Right now, there are a few areas undergoing some restoration and planting of oaks and other natives (it's nice to see the ongoing treatment going out into the open space). If you are on the Facebook page or email list of the Walnut Creek open space, you can stay on top of events in the parks or volunteer opportunities.
Be mindful of the leash-free dogs for those of you on mountain bikes, and always send the horses complete immediately. We are entering the season where you will potentially see rattlesnakes. Sometimes on the fireroad or singletrack route, the smaller ones are curled up. They don't want anything to do with you and aren't going to attack you when you startle them. Just be careful when going off trail or ascending rock outcroppings. Note the rare sightings of coyote, bobcat and fox.
Walking or running across and back typically takes us about 40-50 minutes and somebody can end up breaking quite a sweat.
It is also a perfect place to take your dog for a walk or jog. Rangers are suggesting that dogs still stay leashed. The dogs must be under clear sight and voice command when they are off leash.
This amazing off leash dog park is located near these other must-see dog parks near Walnut Creek, California:
- Heather Farm Dog Park
- Sugarloaf Open Space
- Redwood Regional Park
- Cesar Chavez Dog Park
- Alameda Dog Park
- Wardlaw Dog Park
- Robert Sibley Volcanic Preserve
- Paw Patch at Newhall Park
All of these wonderful parks are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street! Stop by for a visit anytime!