Explore the most popular no dogs trails in Pinnacles National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great views. Nice stars.

Very nice decently flat trail. A LOT of poison oak off of the trail. Of you stay in the middle, you’re safe. The caves are nice and cool literally and figuratively. Thankfully no bugs. Mosquitoes drive me crazy. I would definitely like to return in cooler weather and after a good rain. Bring a flashlight!

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful scenery, very flat and easy trail to get to the caves. Balconies cave was a fun, short climb around and over rocks. My 4 year old was able to navigate it with no problem so I think that this would be a great family trail. Parking lot is small so I recommend arriving early. Trail is also pretty exposed in the afternoon so bring a lot of water on hot days.

hiking
12 days ago

Bring plenty of water! Worth the short detour for stopping at the reservoir and caves on the way.

High Peaks Condor Gulch Trail parking at Bear Gulch area then onto Bear Gulch Trail thru caves, and then onto the high peaks can be an e moderate hike depending on conditions, and the views are spectacular of the surrounding hills and valleys. This hike of High Peaks Condor Gulch Trail in Pinnacles National Park is well worth doing, great all year long. This video was shot on the relatively wide trail of Eastern side of the Peaks, so very little of both ticks and Poison oak as hazards if you don't get too close to the sides or go off trail. Lots of wildlife if you look for it. It was very hot, so carry lots of water. Take binoculars to see the Condors close up.
A Virtual Treadmill video of this hike can be seen on my YouTube Channel, copy and paste link below to watch it. Thanks.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFO02nxPdM4-CabegFIPlow?view_as=subscriber

Do this hike clockwise as suggested. Its easier because there is zero shade on the Condor gulch side. It was 94 when we went and it was probably like 104 up by the rocks. Bring a good amount of water. I brought 2 liters and drank every drop of it.

All of it was worth it. But in the heat it is hard. Expect condors, spectacular rock formations, and breathtaking views and and interesting stretch of climbing up and through narrow pathways and man made rock ladders. Definitely didn't disappoint. We loved it.

Lots of foot traffic but doesn't distract from the beauty

hiking
26 days ago

Great view from the peak.

The signage is confusing when the upper cave is closed. If doing the trail clockwise, when you exit the lower cave, head towards the reservoir and you will then see the needed signage

Very beautiful, very hot. Wear sunblock, a hat and Extra water.

Middle part of the trail had lots of good spots for scrambling! Can get very hot so make sure to bring enough water.

Hard. In 112 degree heat wouldn’t recommend.

I recommend doing this trail counter clockwise so you save all the fun stuff till the end!

hiking
1 month ago

Very fun hike. Not too strenuous but it’s still uphill. The caves are very cramped especially at the end. We had to crawl on our knees across a metal grate to get out. The loop back was very easy going.

hiking
1 month ago

By far it was a beautiful view. I was amazed every corner I turned. The waterfall was beautiful. I went during rainy season so I saw multiples falls. The cave, WOW!!! You have to be there to know what I felt. We took the bear gulch trail!!!! Very nice..

Even on the hot days, an early start will allow this hike to be rewarding.

Listen to Mark. (see below)

I would give this hike a 4 star for spring/ winter but not for July.

If you must go in the summer time, please do the high peaks early in the AM. We started at the high peaks trail head at 7:30 AM and were at the top by 9:30. It is moderate difficulty but is do able. Old pinnacles trail was less interesting given the lack of lush vegetation and flat trail, but it is good for beginners.

Take plenty of electrolytes and at least 2 liters of water per person and enjoy the journey. It makes for some awesome stories. :)

By far one of my favorite trails at the Pinnacles. It’s less traveled than high peaks but has amazing views. The incline is steady but isn’t that bad until you hit the last part of the trail, then it gets pretty steep. The views are totally worth it! This hike is best done in the winter, spring or fall. In the summer it is either really hot or the morning fog lingers which can prevent you from enjoying the views.

Disclosure: I haven’t been hiking in years and I’m very out of shape. The first part of this trail was great! Old pinnacles to the balconies cave. Had we any sense, we would have looped back around from there. But nope. We hit the juniper trail from west entrance up to high peaks. That was tough. Huge leg workout. Needed to stop frequently. But we got up to the tunnel trail fork and had lunch. Great views. Took the high peaks trail back to old pinnacles and nearly got heat stroke because there was zero shade and the temp was 110. Do this in cooler temps or very early in the morning.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful! Bring water, bring a flashlight, bring sunscreen. Wonder start through oaks aplenty. Then, up and up and up! Then down, down, and down, to the caves. I didn't bring a flashlight, so I went back up the Balconies Trail. It was pretty hot, but I made. This is a majestic national park. Thank you Senator Boxer and President Obama. One more note, you drive through Monterrey County wine country to get to the park!

My daughter and her boyfriend were up from SoCal. They joined my son and I who had hiked this trail back in the Spring. We all left San Jose at 6:30 am to try and beat the heat. We were on the trail at roughly 8:30 am with plenty of water, cooling towels, and provisions.

We added the hike to the caves so my daughter could experience it, but hadn't seen that they were closed. We were shunted around to the reservoir. We charged our cooling towels in the reservoir and headed up the high peaks.

As we were expecting, it was warming up as the day wore on, but it was comfortable. There was occasional shade and we stopped for breathers. We made it to the bench in about 2 hours. We stopped and ate our snacks and enjoyed the view. We saw a few other hikers although more coming from the opposite direction.

We continued the high peaks. Saw some birds that may have been condors. No bird experts in our group

As we worked our way down, the temperature rapidly rose and our towels were losing their cooling ability.

It's a long, dry, steep hike back down to the cars on Condor Gultch Trail. The scenery is gorgeous, though, and well worth it.

We got back to the car, exhausted. It was about 12:30 pm when we arrived.

Everyone loved the hike. What really surprised me was how many people we passed heading up as we were coming down and the heat was rising. Very impressed.

We stopped at the park store on the way out and enjoyed some cool drinks. The ladies in the store were delightful.

It was a great day at Pinnacles.

went on a 100 degree day at 2:30pm...

1. bring water. i often bring water but never drink it. so glad i had it on this trip. went though 24 oz because i didn’t have more.

2. california condors look like turkey vultures. “they” say there are 30 or so in the park. i saw 6-8 of them. win!

3. i really liked the trail. rapid ascents and switchbacks. some hand rails at the top and narrow passages. good leg workout day.

word !

hiking
2 months ago

Not for the faint of heart or fear of heights. Did this loop with 5 adults and 6 kids ages 3-9. Had to take turns carrying the littlest one for some of the trail while she slept but once she got her nap in she was good to go another couple miles!
Steady uphill climb with amazing views from the top. When we got to the tiny "stairs" carved into the rock face we discussed going back for the safety of the children.....BUT instead just devised a safe plan to keep moving forward and made it without difficulty.
The kids enjoyed the caves the most! BUT beware, the caves can be very wet and slippery, be cautious. As we approached the other park entrance, there was EMS crews there and they were life flighting someone out who had gotten hurt in the caves. We made it through without any issues or problems to speak of. It did take much of the day. Pack plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks! I definitely recommend this trail for experienced hikers.

I would say that the view at Scout Peak and Hawkins Peak is way better than what you get at the Condor Gulch overlook point. And it is easier to start clock-wise than climbing up from the Condor Gulch Trail.

This trail has everything - incline, a bit of rock climbing, if you extend 1 mile to see the reservoir then you'll get to hike through caves too. There's no shade for most part of the trail so wear a hat and bring lots of water. Go early too for a chance to see the condors. We started the hike at 7:30 AM and got to see 6 condors.

A nice hike from the main parking lot up to the caves. Pretty straight forward and it can get hot. Didn't make it to the lake because I was with older folks with knee problems, but it was a nice hike nonetheless.

Stopped by pinnacles for a quick hike. This was perfect, beautiful scenery. The cave is pretty neat, it gets dark in a couple parts. It feels like it’s getting narrow but opens up quickly so if you’re claustrophobic like me, don’t panic. A few more steps and it’s wide. Also it says the gate closes at 8pm but it’s automatic so you have no problem getting out if you stay a little late like we did. Can’t wait to go back to this park.

Would call this easy except for the cave part. Good little hike with nice views. If you go cliffs first to cave, cave entrance is not entirely clear you’re on right path until you see the sign. Definitely need a light - headlamp preferred to keep hands free.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome trail! Be sure to take lots of water and snacks if you do the whole loop. Should take about 4 hours unless you stop to take in all the beautiful views. Would definitely do this again.

Great hike. Recommend hiking boots, lots of loose rocks. Caves were closed due to baby bats season. We were told that every year caves close between May 15 and July 15. Wish I knew before hand, but still a great hike to the reservoir. Bring lots of water.

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