Concord and neighboring communities are surrounded by thousands of acres of protected open space cherished by locals and visitors alike. At this time of year, the hills are neon green, the weather cool and the trails ideal for DogTrekking. If you’re new to the area and up for a jaunt of an hour or more, start on the Contra Costa Canal Trail, one of the most popular paths in the East Bay Regional Park District system.
You’ll follow a horseshoe-shaped path through central Contra Costa County, intercepting Lime Ridge Open Space in Concord as well as a number of parks in nearby Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek. It’s not by any stretch of the imagination a wilderness trail; instead, it accesses schools, commercial areas, residential neighborhoods and BART stations, with spurs connecting to equestrian paths and trails leading into the hills. The trail is shared with cyclists and horse people, so be sure to know proper multi-use etiquette before setting out.
The region’s major landmark, Mount Diablo, beckons from wherever you are, but unfortunately, it’s a state park that doesn’t allow dogs on trails. Head instead for Diablo Foothills Regional Park, whose 1,060 acres are valued for their striking geologic formations and sweeping panoramic views. It’s a great place to enjoy wildflowers in the spring.
Another great choice: the aforementioned Lime Ridge Open Space, encompassing more than 1,200 acres of hilly terrain and 25 miles of trails held jointly by the cities of Concord and Walnut Creek. Leash rules vary depending on where you’re venturing. In the north area, dogs under strict voice and visual control can be untethered, while in the south they must be leashed at all times. No dogs are allowed in the central section, which is a wildlife preserve. Check signage and play by the rules and you’ll have a great time! There’s a Lime Ridge trailhead in Concord and another in Walnut Creek.
Photo Credit: @oaklandanne