This loop uses mostly fire road and is in great shape. The hike has almost no shade which makes it a better cool day spring, winter, or fall hiking destination. There are oak and evergreen trees in the area but no sections of the trail go through the wooded or covered forest. Along the way, hikers will enjoy views of Mt. Diablo and nearby Walnut Creek, Concord, and Clayton areas.
Features: Birding — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
There are many additional trails, and one could easily lengthen or shorten the hike.
This description is from the parking area at the junction of Ygnacio and Cowell Road. The parking area does not have bathrooms or water, please plan accordingly. As the map shows, the loop is usually done counterclockwise heading right from the parking area on the fire road and the start of Ohlone Trail
The first part of the hike is within sight of Ygnacio and there is a buzz of road noise. The sweeping views of the nearby towns will be to your right and the Lime Ridge Open Space in front and to the left of you. The Ohlone Trail
is well-marked and should be fairly easy to navigate. Stay right on the fire road for the first two intersections with the Buckeye and Blue Oak trails respectively.
The first several miles are mostly descending yet keeping things interesting with rolling hills up and down. Head straight through the Lime Ridge and Blue Oak trail junctions. To continue on the loop, hike past the Manzanita Trail
and head right down Ohlone Trail
. The views of the Boundary Oak Golf course are quite nice. You'll hike right by the driving range and, although you are most likely not in the range, one should be aware during this section.
The Ohlone Trail
goes through a cattle gate and continues uphill to the intersection with Paraiso Trail
; at this point you leave the Ohlone Trail
and head east on Paraiso Trail
. The road noise is replaced by the sounds of doves, wild turkey, and hawks in the wooded valley to your left. The highest point in the area, Mt. Diablo, is now visible, and this is one of the best sections of this hike.
The hill towards the ridge is the most sustained on the hike, and one should pace themselves accordingly. At the top, the views of Clayton and Crystyl Ranch Trail
are visible. Take a right on Manzanita Trail
for perhaps 100 yards and then head downhill on Crystyl Ranch Trail
to the left. The trail is easy to follow.
Veer left at the bottom of the hill; there are no signs, but this will take you to another green cattle gate. Once through the gate, follow the Crystyl Ranch Trail
until it ends at the Oak Knoll Dr. Take a left on Monticello Dr. and follow it back to the parking lot.