category, and difficulty:
This 1.7 mile loop hike is easy. Trailhead elevation is around
140 feet. This hike climbs to about 500 feet. Every ascent/descent in this
part of the preserve is steep, but trails are short -- total elevation change
is about 400 feet.
Dirt fire roads.
Any time is nice.
From CA 24/680 in Contra Costa County, exit Ygnacio Valley Road (exit 46b).
Drive east on Ygnacio Valley Road for about 6 miles, then turn north (left)
onto Oak Grove. Drive one block, then turn right on Citrus Avenue. Drive
about 1 mile north on Citrus, and park on the side of the street near where
the Contra Costa Canal Trail crosses the road.
Get driving or public transit directions from Transit and Trails:
GPS Coordinates* for Trailhead:
Longitude 122° 0'39.32"W
(* based on Google Earth
data, shown as degrees, minutes, seconds)
Gas, food, and lodging:
Gas, pay phones, restaurants, and stores back to the west on Ygnacio Valley
Road. No camping.
Side of the road parking in a residential neighborhood. No facilities or
maps. No parking or entrance fees. No designated handicapped parking, and
trails are not suitable to wheelchairs. There is no direct public transportation
to the park, but several Contra Costa County buses will bring you within
walking distance of the preserve.
Trails are multi-use. Dogs are permitted in some parts of this preserve
(check the Walnut Creek website for details). Open during daylight hours.
The Official Story:
City of Walnut Creek's Lime
Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
from City of Walnut Creek
East Bay Trails, by David Weintraub, has some a good map and
trail descriptions of Lime Ridge's east side (order
this book from Amazon.com).
Ridge in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured
View photos from
Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page
Ridge Open Space is a vaguely key-shaped parcel of land stretching from Concord south into Walnut Creek. The open space is
cut into three chunks by two bisecting roads bustling with auto traffic.
Each section generally serves the directly adjacent neighborhoods, offering
broad dirt trails through rolling grassland, perfect for dog walking,
and daily strolls or runs. Lime Ridge hosts no facilities, and many trails
are unsigned, but it would be tough to get lost in this small open space
preserve. Southeast of Ygnacio Boulevard you'll find slightly steeper
hills ascending through oaks and then chaparral. These hills reach toward
Mount Diablo State Park, but trail access is blocked by intervening private
The open space runs right up to housing
developments in ever expanding Walnut Creek and Concord neighborhoods.
Historically, lime was mined here, and the land still bears the scars
from years of mineral extractions. Time has softened the mining wounds
and these days you're more likely to notice fresh green grass draped on
the hillsides in winter, and a riot of wildflowers in spring.
I reached the preserve after a warm-up walk
on the Contra Costa Canal Trail, and Lime Ridge
is a nice destination after a leisurely walk on the flat paved trail that
winds through Walnut Creek.
Start at the Contra Costa Canal Trail
on the east side of Citrus (you can also park at the end of Navaronne
Way in the neighborhood slightly to the east). Walk a few feet on the
paved path, cross a massive water aqueduct, and you'll reach a signed
junction. Turn right. Almost immediately,turn left, following the signs for the California Riding and Hiking Trail.
The dirt multi-use path climbs along a
fence, and at 0.10 mile, you'll pass the end of Navaronne Way, on the
left. Walk through the first gate, then turn right and walk through
a second gate, entering the open space.
Spiderwebs of trails depart steeply uphill
to the left, straight into a valley, and slightly right. Aim for an open
space sign visible near the preserve boundary to the southwest (rightish).
The wide trail dips down into a gully, then climbs gently through grassland.
After you pass the information sign, stay to the left as another
trail veers right.
You'll climb easily toward the chaparral
cloaked slopes of the southern section of the preserve. Ignore a side
path heading uphill to the right, and persist on the fire road, where
you might see coyote and bobcat tracks. The trail sweeps around a hill,
and at 0.61 mile, reaches an undersigned junction (just a post with arrows
pointing left and right).Traffic
from Ygnacio Valley Road is visible and audible to the right. Take
a soft left (although if you make a hard left you'll eventually end
up in the same place).
The broad trail begins to shrink to a tiny
trail. You may notice lumpy looking sections or earth, a crater, and some
loose boulders: this was one of the quarry sites. After a short level
stretch, the path passes a tripod oak stump, and then descends into the
valley. After merging with another trail feeding in from the left, the
path heads past an old oak and begin a steep climb. If you stop to catch
your breath, look south for ever-increasing views past Ygnacio Valley
Road to Lime Ridge's far reaches and even further, to the peaks of Mount
Diablo. Squirrels are everywhere, scurrying through the grass, and you
might see a redtail hawk soaring overhead, in search of a quick bite.
The grade finally slackens and the trail swings left along a ridge. At
1.02 miles, you'll reach an unsigned junction at a saddle. The trail straight
heads out of
the open space and into a Concord neighborhood. Turn left.
A side path shoots straight uphill to the
right, an option if you'd like sweeping views in every direction. On the
wide path which skirts the hilltop there are nice views north, south,
and west. Visit on a clear day and you might make out the spine of Las
Trampas, the soft hills of Briones, and the jagged peaks of Mount Diablo.
At 1.22 miles, you'll reach yet another unsigned junction. Turn left.
The trail begins a sharp descent back into
the valley, and from the path you can eyeball your way back out of the
open space. At 1.47 miles, bear right at an unsigned junction,
then turn left at 1.53 miles, just before the fence line. You'll
reach the gate out of the preserve at 1.59 miles, and from there retrace
your steps back to the trailhead.
Total distance: 1.69 miles
Last hiked: Monday, November 27, 2001