Sunday, April 24, 2005

Lime Ridge Open Space

The East Bay Casual Hiking group is off walking the Contra Costa / Ygnacio Canal Trail loop that I walked a while ago: too recently to want to do it again, especially as the Ygnacio Canal Trail part was, well, a bit meh.

So, Melinda and I are out on our own today, for a loop suggested by that earlier hike: start on Citrus Avenue, go out through Lime Ridge Open Space, come back along the Contra Costa Canal Trail.

We park on the street on Citrus Avenue, near the trail crossing, and walk up the Canal Trail before entering Lime Ridge at the Rock Oak Road trailhead. From here, we follow the Woodlands West Trail before doubling back through the quarry on the Lime Ridge Trail, which then climbs steeply onto the ridge.

Great views back over the valley from here. And once we're over the ridge, the views to the North open up: Concord in the foreground, and further to Suisin Bay, the Concord Naval Weapons Station, the oil industry of Martinez, and further east, Pittsburg and Antioch.

The Lime Ridge Trail rejoins Woodlands North Trail and the California Riding & Hiking Trail. And here we get a bit lost. I can see the buildings of the Lime Ridge Community Center, but it's not clear from the ground how to get there, and the trails don't seem to match up to the trail map. We end up following a cow track which peters out, leaving us to scramble down a grassy hillside. Once we're down, looking back the correct route seems obvious; as indeed it is from Google's satellite view.

Trail map of Lime Ridge Open Space.
Satellite view of Lime Ridge Open Space.

The crossing over Treat Boulevard is a little hairy: the closest lights are at Navaronne Way, some 500 yards down, so we risk crossing against the traffic.

South of Treat, Lime Ridge is managed by Walnut Creek; north of Treat, it's managed by Concord. The Concord area is a little less managed, a little wilder: the trails are bordered by head-high wild mustard. And there aren't online trail maps for the Concord area: the Concord Parks webpage offers a Lime Ridge map, but rather cheekily it's a scan of the Lime Ridge page of Walnut Creek's Open Space map.

So, Google's maps to the rescue again:

Satellite view of the Concord area of Lime Ridge Open Space.

From the community center, we follow the fire road north to the trailhead at Court Lane, before heading west towards the lower end of Via Montanas. Just before the trailhead, a side trail heads north, and slightly uphill, along the edge of the Open Space, towards the car park and trailhead at the upper end of Via Montanas.

And here, suddenly, a view over downtown Concord opens up: a large development of white-roofed static homes, the BART tracks and marshalling yard, and beyond it off Detroit Avenue the huge carpark and roof of the Costco warehouse. From the trail, the Costco sign on the side of the warehouse is clearly visible.

Satellite view of downtown Concord.

At Via Montanas, we pick up the Contra Costa Canal Trail, which provides an easy and flat route — with plenty of looky-loo opportunities into people's back yards — back to Citrus Avenue. And back at Citrus, the concrete bridge over the canal is ringing with bird cries: we peek under the bridge, and see that there are lots of swallow nests plastered between the roof and the walls.

Categories: Hiking