Shell ridge open space is a 1420 acres open space with 31 miles of trails and multiple trailheads with parking. Shell Ridge is located in the heart of Walnut Creek, starting just a short distance from downtown and continuing all the way to Mount Diablo. It is the largest open area in the city and consists of a series of parallel ridges and valleys. Shell Ridge is named after the marine fossils left behind when the ocean waters that once covered it receded. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking , biking, and horseback riding along ridges, creek paths, and hillsides.
In the late 1960s, the citizens of Walnut Creek began to express their concern about the potential development of the hills and ridges within the city. When the development of a portion of Shell Ridge was proposed in the early 1970s, grassroots efforts began. Citizens overturned the development of the referendum and set up a formally designated committee to develop a plan for the purchase and protection of open space. The result was the formation of Contra Costa Service Area R-8, approved by voters in June 1974, which provided $6,750,000 for the acquisition of open space land in and around Walnut Creek
The original plan identified approximately 2,500 acres of parks, open spaces and trail easements to be protected. Later purchases and dedications have increased that number to 2726 acres, and the City of Walnut Creek now also manages land for the City of Concord and the Muir Heritage Land Trust.
Shell Ridge is also home to the Borges Ranch, a historic cattle ranch, and Howe Homestead Park, the former home and orchard of James P Howe of the Associated Press.
The Rangers recommend that dogs remain leached at all times. If they are out of leash, dogs must be under positive sight and voice command. (Please keep in mind that there is abundant wildlife in the area, including coyotes, as well as cattle.)
Shell Ridge – Borgess Ranch Loop is a 7.6 km long loop trail located near Walnut Creek, California, which features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activities and is accessible throughout the year. Dogs and horses can use this trail as well.
Shell Ridge – Twin Ponds Loop is an 11.7 km long loop trail located near Walnut Creek, California, which features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activities and is accessible throughout the year. Dogs are also able to use the trail.
The Open Space Division is supporting a volunteer program because of the public support that a volunteer program generates. Too often, volunteer programs rely on the perception that volunteers are recruited and trained by government agencies due to a lack of funding to hire staff to do the work that volunteers do. While it is a fact that volunteers allow managers to distribute staff and work in a timely manner, volunteers bring much more to the agency’s operations. Volunteers bring their talents, their interests, and as a group, volunteers are a physical manifestation of public support for Open Space programs and operations.