Shell Ridge Loop
We start at Howe Homestead Park, on the edge of Shell Ridge Open Space. Climbing up on the Kovar Trail, and higher onto the Summit Ridge Trail, the views back over downtown Walnut Creek soon open up.
The trail dips back down along the rim of a disused quarry. Footing is a bit rough here; but it’s a lot easier doing it downhill on a dry day than uphill on a wet and windy day…
Once we’re down we turn north, first on the Fossil Hill Trail and then on the Briones–Mt. Diablo Trail, which heads out of the Open Space along a short ridge.
We cross Ygnacio Valley Road and head into Heather Farm; two curious ducks waddle out of the creek to check us out.
From Heather Farm, it’s a quick nip west on the Contra Costa Canal Trail before the final—and rather dull—stretch home on the Iron Horse Trail.