Acalanes Ridge, a common hiking area on the boundary of Walnut Creek and Lafayette, is a series of natural open spaces linked by an extensive network of trails.
Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of central Contra Costa from its 781-foot summit, which include the Oakland Hills, Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, Livermore foothills, Mount Diablo, Suisun Bay, and Briones Regional Park.
Several trails, including the regional trail connecting Briones Regional Park and Mount Diablo State Park, provide access to Acalanes Ridge for day hikes.
Acalanes Ridge is really two parks separated by almost a mile of private land.
The North Side of the Ridge
The North Side has more green land, with over 200 acres. The trail begins on a shared asphalt driveway before turning right onto a small dirt track. The path winds its way through dense trees and descends swiftly into the woodland.
This shady section of trail crosses a stream on a wooden bridge before returning to a paved fire path. Since EBMUD has access to the water tank, dogs must be on a leash for about 0.2 miles along his paved fire path.
You'll pass through a gate where the trail breaks into three directions after hiking up the trail.
Take the middle trail, which has a short yet steep ascent. The path then loops around the top, where you can hike up to 750 feet (Sousa Dr trailhead was at 380ft). Mount Diablo, Walnut Creek, Shell Ridge, Lime Ridge, Briones Park, the Carquinez Strait, and the delta are all visible from the summit.
The South Side of the Ridge
The south side is quieter and less traveled, but it has stunning views. The dirt trail curves up and down, under eucalyptus trees, until it reaches the top at 600 feet, which is almost completely open to sunshine (the trailhead was at 530ft).
At the end, there's a conveniently positioned bench where you can rest and take in the 360-degree views. Surrounding the bench are concrete slabs that have been decorated with interesting artwork.
On the south side of the park, there are no restrooms, garbage cans, or running water, so hold plenty of water.
This amazing park is just one of the many must-see parks you don’t want to miss in Walnut Creek, California:
Heather Farm Park
Diablo Foothills Regional Park
Howe Homestead Park
Heather Farm Dog Park
Sugarloaf Open Space
All of these wonderful parks are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek!