Old Pinnacles Trail to Balconies is a 5.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Paicines, CA that features a cave and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.
Directions from Soledad: Follow Highway 146 12 miles to the Chaparral Ranger Station. From the ranger station walk northeastward on the Balconies Trail. At the fork in the trail, .6 miles from the trailhead, take either side. The Balconies Trail loop ends at the Old Pinnacles Trail.
Really nice hike, with good combo of sun/shade and mostly flat. Caveat, we missed a turn in the caves and wound up scrambling up a really steep, dangerous wall, thinking it was the trail. It was _A_ trail and eventually, we found the real trail.
Did this as part of a 10 mile loop around the park. Not very crowded here. There was one point in the North end that I went a hour without seeing someone. Its very easy, lots of small stream crossings over the same creek. A great time, pretty shaded for the most part.
nice easy trail.
This is a mostly flat, easy hike to reach the caves and see the Balconies. There are sections of shaded and unshaded trail along the way.
Thought this was a really cool hike!
Went with 5 other friends.
Lucky us it was free because of the holiday weekend. It trekked us through diverse landscapes. Suitable for the beginner adventurer with little equipment needed (a flashlight is quite handy for the cave portion, even though it was pretty short). We started at the east entrance and hit the caves first. It felt like just the right length with some decent climbing. There is also a section specifically for before the cave for rock climbers :o There were parts that were shaded, while others out under the sun (especially when we went up the condor gulch portion).
The entire trail is a loop with small routes to cut the loop shorter. Shuttles run during the day to take visitors from one entrance to the other. There were quite a few rangers that day, all of whom were very friendly and informative.
The loop we took was almost 10 ish miles. Combined with relatively cool weather (70 ish)... it was perfect :D
As always, bring water, sunblock, hat, snacks and other essentials.
Didn't use hiking sticks for this one, some others in the group did (but it would have been useful going up Condor Gulch)
Hike vid: https://youtu.be/GrvAlBQSSdg
Wonderful hiking for all! Caves very enjoyable but please take flashlight. We just came back from there and are looking forward to visiting the park in the spring time with the flowers in bloom.