Lime Ridge Open Space,
City of Walnut Creek & City of Concord,
Contra Costa County
Distance, 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.

Totally exposed.

Trail traffic

Trail surface
Dirt fire roads.

Hiking time
1 mile.

Any time is nice.

Getting there
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:
Latitude 3756'24.30"N
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.

Trailhead details:
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 Ridge page

Map Choices:
• Use AAA's San Francisco Bay Region map to get there.
Map 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

Lime Ridge in a nutshell -- a printable, text-only guide to the featured hike.

View photos from this hike

Go to Bay Area Hiker Home page

Lime Ridge Open Space is a vaguely key-shaped parcel of land stretching from Concord south into Walnut Creek.Roadside parking on Citrus Avenue  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 lands.
      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. Rolling hills of Lime RidgeTime 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. A steep climb
     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).Descending from the ridge
     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.View to Diablo
     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