Despite the fact that it is only a few miles away and the fact that we’ve driven by it dozens and dozens of times, yesterday was our first visit to Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park. Usually when we are looking for a creek hike we head down to Bull Creek, but since we were just there recently we decided to give Walnut Creek a try. Basically the park is almost 300 acres of trails. More trails than you can believe. Take a look at this map (click for larger version) to get a feeling.
Aside from the creeks and the trails there isn’t much in the park itself. The north end has some ammenities, but the rest is empty. It isn’t really beautiful (except for along the creek). Mostly just junipers, brush and dead grass. Oh, and powerlines.
But the creeks are wonderful. They are so different from what I am used to in the Northwest. Even the small creeks down here are generally in deep canyons which makes them both striking to look at from top and bottom and refreshingly cool and shady to walk along or through.
We spent some time along Walnut creek before heading across and up the other side to follow more trails. The whole park (or at least substantial portions) are off-leash for dogs. We took the risk and Redmond surprised us by staying near by and returning when called. He also got a little more comfortable in the water.
Originally ranch and farm land, then used by motorcross riders it is now packed with mountain bikers. They like the proximity to town, the fact that you can pretty much go anywhere since there isn’t anything to hurt and the more than 15 miles of trails. Luckily trail markers are frequent or we would probably still be wandering around out there as there isn’t much in the way of landmarks. All the mountain bikers we came across were cautious around the kids and the dog and we didn’t have any problems.
As the hike wore on the kids got tired. They wanted to ride and they wanted to hold hands and sometimes they wanted to do both.
Even though they were exhausted walking somehow when we got back near the parking lot/pool/ballfield/playground complex they found new energy. (Note the sunglasses. He has been doing everything but sleeping in them since he first got them).