Explore the most popular hiking trails in Shell Ridge Open Space with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Perfect for an end of the day walk that’s not too difficult. Look out for rattlesnakes and pollen in April and May

This is a great trail. We started at Indian Valley Elementary which I would recommend in the summer months because the climb to the Ridge Top offers little shade but once you get there it is full of great views and cooling breezes. The trail is "closed" and mile 3.1 on this map so technically you should take the Ridge Top Bypass at mile 3. We hopped the barrier because we did not want to backtrack and found the descent at mile 3.2 pretty challenging. The Twin Ponds section (5.2 and beyond) is beautiful and shaded. Lots of raptors and other birds and reptiles -- we were even treated to a California King snake!

love running here. beautiful place!

backpacking
1 month ago

Backpacking Day 1 of 3 Mt. Diablo Range. Walnut Creek (John Muir Hospital Trailhead) to Live Oak Campground (Mt. Diablo).

Great hike, keep an eye on the map, because it's easy to switch on a another trail without noticing it! But really nice one, super green right now! Warm and sunny!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful! It was a little confusing finding the start of the trail (we didn't know where to park), but it was a great 7 miles. Only one major uphill climb.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing hike - especially in the morning before it gets busy. Can very different in the winter vs summer.
Lots of options on trails Trail in good condition and plenty of parking

If you want to feel that you are in the middle of the Swiss Alps without getting an air ticket, do this hike. It's one of my favorite hikes around. I would say its a Moderate+ but rewarding none the less.

It was beautiful! I went in the morning and loved it. The trail is really muddy, so make sure to bring extra shoes for when you finish.

5 months ago

Nice and close to town.

The very last part of the Ridge Top Trail part of this loop was fenced off, so had to double back and take the bypass trail. Apart from that great hike and phenomenal 360 views from the ridge top.

Great trail for October ...

Good trail, strenuous at times. Excellent views to go with a nice workout.

This was a phenomenal trail! Breathtaking (both from the steepness and view) when you step onto the top of the ridge and have 360 degree views. The only part I didn't like was the paved road that brings you off the ridge if taking the loop in a counter clockwise direction. I will definitely be taking this trail again.

trail running
11 months ago

Best for Trail Running! This trail is all dirt with minimal rocky patches. Rolling hills was able to sprint the downhills with no fear of rolling an ankle or hitting a hard rock. The ground felt cushioned beneath my feet. Scenery is rolling hills with chaparral oak trees scattered throughout. No shade so wear sunblock. Pretty fun trail. Came out to 4.97 miles on my Nike+ GPS tracker.

Shell Ridge is close to home for me, so I've been here a lot, ever since I was a kid with my mom. I usually park at Indian Valley school and go from there. Lots of alternative routes you can take in here from fire trails to single-tracks.

Nice hike, moderate, lots of wide fire trails or you can take off on a single-track. Lots of alternate routes you can take here.

The trail was closed at Borges Ranch and I had to turn back the way I came..

Also there isn't a lot of shade cover so I recommend sunscreen.

Lastly, There is an Elementary School at the trail head so traffic is crazy at 2:30 on a weekday. Plan accordingly.

mountain biking
Sunday, April 09, 2017

Still very muddy. Some nice views up on the ridge. Most of the trails on this track are single track and mountain bikes are not permitted, so I suggested an edit to remove that activity. The trails are very overgrown after the rainy season. I would wear long pants.

hiking
Sunday, March 19, 2017

Great hike in the winter - very green. Need long pants, at least on this trail and in the winter - cant believe how high the grass has grown. In the Summer very dry and dusty but in March - green & great. Keeping it from a 5 - on parts of the hike you can hear the highways in the distance - not bad - but noticeable. Also a little crowded for me - not Mission Peak crowded but few more people than I like.

walking
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Great place to walk. Watch out for rattlesnakes though! Also be sure to bring lots of water! This is a pretty big loop and lots of hills

trail running
Monday, March 13, 2017

Great trail and so green now, trail is even grown over but it makes for reduced impact when running. Don't expect to speed through it because there's a good amount of climbing, it's a good mix of climbing/downhill/flat and running on the top of the ridge was awesome.

Great hike! Can keep it easy and stay on the main trail or make it hard and climb up to the top of the ridge. Lots of different trails. Little muddy in the shaded spots.

hiking
Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Great rewards! I started this trail at a Howe Homestead park. Right from the start you have a nice up to get your heart racing. Once you get past the houses and to the top of the first ridge you can stay on top of the ridge to the left, or continue down The trail, which I did. Eventually, staying to the left I took the Shell Ridge Trail. The beautiful views all around me was well worth the non stop ups! I stopped and turned around after I got to the top of the third ridge. I was on a time limit that day and wasn't sure I had enough time to finish the loop. I will hike this trail again, maybe from a different starting point. I was told by a local that a few of the ladies in the Howe Park were responsible for the open space. Also, these connecting trails will take you from city land to county land to state land if you have the time to walk it! Enjoy!

I really enjoyed this hike. A good easy-moderate hike. A bit of a workout but not too hard. And you pass through Borgess Ranch where you can see and pet animals! Kind of muddy in places after all the rain but very green!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Beautiful views and first time around was easy to hike and to navigate and did I mention the views? The sky's are big and wide from the top of the hill. Can't wait to try this trail in the spring.

hiking
Monday, December 26, 2016

Great easy/moderate hike. Went about 45 min in and the same back out. Not very many people. Beautiful rolling hills, oaks, and rocky edges.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Avoid in rainy days.

hiking
Sunday, December 25, 2016

Good trail. Decent hike. Scenic. Avoid if it rained recently or if you are going to do it anyway, make sure you wear good trekking shoes. It was muddy when we visited as it rained on three previous day.

hiking
Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Great hike to do with the doggie. Easy to find!

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