Sugarloaf is located along Interstate 680, south of Walnut Creek. It is a small natural area with one of the last black walnut orchards in town. The ridgeline offers views of Mount Diablo, Shell Ridge and Las Trampas Ridge. Along with opportunities for a few short hikes, there are several picnic areas, a native plant garden and an amphitheater. Picnic areas and an amphitheater can be reserved for groups for day use and overnight camping.

Rising above homes, freeways and shops, Walnut Creek’s four rugged open-air preserves–Sugarloaf, Shell Ridge, Lime Ridge and Acalanes–provide a welcome breath of hectic city life. A total of more than 2,500 acres, these lands offer opportunities for hiking, biking and horseback riding, as well as for the conservation of wildlife habitat.


Ridge Top Trail

Pick up a free Walnut Creek open space map at the kiosk near the ranger station. This excellent guide shows not only the Sugarloaf trails, but also Walnut Creek’s other open-air trails. You can also pick up a booklet listing Walnut Creek’s many open-space programs, including ranger-led hikes, classes and festivals. Near the ranger station, you’ll find a shaded picnic area, water and toilets.

Walk through the gate and take the Ridge Top Trail straight up the hill on a wide fire road. (You’re going from an elevation of 230 feet to 520 feet) Look across the brown hills to downtown Walnut Creek. You can also see Mount Diablo and Shell Ridge Open Space as you climb. Pass the side trail to Lariat Lane and continue to Sugarloaf Hill. In the shade, a bench offers well-earned rest. A circular path around the bench gives you a 360-degree view of your surroundings.

If you are adventurous and fit, take the Bottom Springs Trail (sometimes known as the Cardiac Trail) which leads steeply downhill from the circle. At the bottom, you’ll find yourself in a cool oak meadow, where you can enjoy the colors of the fall, but where you can get muddy during the rainy season. Wild turkeys are very common here. As you continue, notice how close you are to homes and backyards-a real urban wilderness. The trail ends between two houses on Bridle Lane. Relax and take your steps back to the hilltop.


To the ranger station

After cooling down in the shade, continue along the Ridge Top Trail and enjoy the views. To get back to the ranger station, take the Center Trail downhill and enjoy the view of the old walnut orchard. Alternatively, you can continue on the Ridge Top Trail and take the Orchard Trail down for a closer look at this historic tree grove. Although the grove is currently unproductive, it is one of the few remaining orchards in the area.

This well-known government office is located near the following offices in Walnut Creek, California:

  • Walnut Creek Public Services Department
  • Walnut Creek Traffic Operation
  • Walnut Creek Parks Division
  • CalPERS Walnut Creek Regional Office
  • City Engineering
  • DMV Walnut Creek
  • Sugarloaf Ranger Station
  • Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce
  • Congressman Mark DeSaulnier’s Office

All of these wonderful offices are located just a short distance from our location on Boulevard Circle in historic Walnut Creek, California.