Shell Ridge Open Space has 1420 acres or 31 miles of trails. There are numerous trailheads with parking lots on Borges Ranch and Howe Homestead Park. Shell Ridge is located in the heart of Walnut Creek beginning just a short distance from downtown and going all the way to Mount Diablo. This is the largest open space area of the world, which consists of a series of parallel ridges which valleys. Shell Ridge derives its name from the marine fossils left behind as the waters of the ocean that once filled it drained. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, walking, and horseback riding along mountain tops, stream ways, and hillsides.

Shell Ridge is now home to the Associated Press Dogs’ Borges Farm, a historic cattle ranch; and Howe Homestead Park, James P Howe’s former house and orchard: Cats? Rangers are advising that dogs still stay leashed. If leashed, dogs must be under clear sight and voice command.(Please bear in mind that there is plenty of wildlife in the field, including coyotes and cattle)

Shell Ridge Open Space has 13 mild trails ranging from 4.3 to 18.2 miles, and 42 to 277 meters above sea level. Visitors can take the Twin Ponds Loop which is a highly trafficked 7.3 mile loop trail in the vicinity of WC, which is considered mild. On this track you can walk some 1200 feet upwards. The first two miles are level then the next three miles up rise. See a Back here it is easy to get lost. For a map of Shell Mountain, try to check AllTrails. The ground on the first leg of the trip is on a spring fire path which is muddy. You’ll hit a narrow path with a few steep drop-offs until you start hiking up the mountain and finally end up on another forest trail back up.

The trails are relatively well marked, and there are many trailheads from which you might continue your adventure. Some of the bike paths are extremely short. The trail particularly from how Homestead Park was narrow and steep.  Bear in mind that along the trails, there is no water or toilets so plan accordingly. If you plan to visit this place, you can park at the Indian Valley Elementary School on the street.  If you are quite conscious about your skin, bring water and suntan lotion! This is an open space and on a sunny day, you will definitely look toasty. Dogs are allowed to go around here. So, if you have a pet, you can bring them. It’s a nice alternative on a weekend or after work and from downtown Walnut Creek which is just a few minutes.

Image courtesy of Jeffreymendel Jeffrey Nash – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

This amazing trail is located near the following must-see trails in Walnut Creek, California:

  • Diablo Foothills Regional Park
  • Castle Rock Regional Recreation Area
  • Lime Ridge Open Space
  • Heather Farm Park
  • Sugarloaf Open Space
  • Acalanes Ridge
  • Arbolado Park
  • Mount Diablo State Park

All of these trails are located just a short distance from our location in downtown Walnut Creek, Spaulding Concrete on Locust Street.