Bear Gulch Caves and Reservoir Loop Trail is a 1.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Paicines, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
Directions from Bear Gulch Visitor Center: Follow Moses Spring Trail southward .6 miles to the caves.
This trail was cool- until this point I had never had the opportunity to hike through a legitimate cave, so the experience was unique and unforgettable.
We hiked this trail in November on Thanksgiving weekend. Unfortunately we didn't realize that this a heavily populated time to visit the park, so on this shorter cave hike we saw many people. However, I imagine on another weekend this wouldn't be an issue.
Before attempting to hike to the Bear Gulch caves, make sure you check if they are open. Bear Gulch caves are divided into the upper and lower caves, but they sometimes are closed to protect the native bat population. Here is the site to check the status:
I would check that before heading out (or ask a ranger) so you don't hike to a dead end.
The trail is easy, short, and pretty. The only time it becomes a little challenging is in the cave itself, where you have some dark navigating around rocks and some ducking to do. Make sure you bring a flashlight or a headlamp as the cave will be pitch black for some sections. Also it might be helpful to bring grippy gloves as you maneuver.
Nice talus cave formations of the ancient geological era
Fun hike to beat the heat on a hot summer day! Did it with a baby on my back but had to take him off in a few tight spots.
Great trail, but gets narrow in the caves. Bring a flashlight unless you want to shuffle along in the pitch dark.
short and enchanting, i love the waterfalls inside the cave.