Balconies Cave Trail

MODERATE 85 reviews
#10 of 27 trails in

Balconies Cave Trail is a 2.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Paicines, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking.

Distance: 2.6 miles Elevation Gain: 400 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

cave

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

Please note as of 2/19/2019 Balconies Cave and Bear Gulch Cave are closed due to flooding. Bring a headlamp for the cave portion!

hiking
rocky
scramble
14 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

The caves are great but the rest is nothing special. The trail was clear but there wasn’t much shade. Meh.

hiking
2 months ago

easy trail, wild life, beautiful.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Most of this trail is easy and so incredibly beautiful, however, once you hit the cave area, I think you’re in for a different type of hike. I’ve been on AllTrails “moderate” hikes that were easier than this “easy” hike. I’m not sure how they rate them here, but you will need strong knees in some sections of the cave, and not be afraid of narrows spaces, the dark, or falling into a crevasse. Head lamps are a must. It’s a beautiful hike and a fun adventure. I personally, would not take a child under 5 into the cave section. Happy Trails!

hiking
3 months ago

I would rate this hike as more moderate/less easy- our 4 year old had difficulty with the temperature and altitude ascent after the cave. Please bring enough water. We were thankful we brought some electrolyte tablets. We left before 9am and really felt the heat at the end. Bring headlamps- you need your hands to scale the rocks safely in the cave. The caves were great, we had a blast- I would say 5 year olds and up could do this hike no problem. 4 and under will likely need assistance and rest stops.

hiking
4 months ago

I would recommend this trail for anyone with kids, flash lights for the caves are a must with little ones. Although I did see some folks using their phones for lighting. We had 5 children with ages ranging from 5-10 years and they all had a blast. Once you are through the caves it’s about 1.5 miles back to the chaparral lot.

hiking
muddy
7 months ago

The caves are inaccessible right now due to flooding and overgrowth. The rest of the hike is gorgeous with the swollen creek, bright green moss and winter flowers.

10 months ago

So unexpected! November weather was cool and rainy, which made it easy (and we did it after Juniper trail 5miles - we are in good shape). The hike leading up to the cave has beautiful views and fun scrambling. I thought “cave” meant enclosed area but wide flat trail. Not so. Huge boulders form an enclosed pitch black 1/4 mile twisting rock scramble. You must have a flashlight or you cannot find your way. White arrows direct - you must come in from the north - take the left fork in the trail counter clockwise. You must not be afraid of being crushed by potential falling rocks - it’s safe but if you have anxiety prepare to be frightened for the 15-20mins you are in it. It’s terrifying and thrilling. Highly recommend for a once in a lifetime experience.

11 months ago

beautiful views. caves were harder than expected but we loved the challenge. bring plenty of sun block

hiking
Friday, October 19, 2018

Make sure you have a head lamp or light source. Also, it was hot, and you need to drink a lot on the way back to stay hydrated. Insects were not a problem most of the time. I went counterclockwise to normal travel. Said hi to a lot of folks. Saw snakes, couple Chipmunks and Squirrels gathering cones and seeds, not too many birds, except for the group of turkeys outside the caves. This is a truly awesome not to be missed hike, should have led with this. Go for the views especially of the rock formations around the caves with the mountain backdrop. 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

hiking
Thursday, August 23, 2018

So happy we chose this trail! I found it very enthralling like a game of clue towards the end because you have to look around to figure out where the cave entry is. You think after walking under a few boulders “wow...it’s over?” It is not. Look around hard and you’ll see a small passage way plunging downward. The answer is yes, that is indeed the trail! Once you are walking down into this entry and everyone behind you thinks you’re crazy, you’ll find a cool, dark cave. Don’t turn around yet because there are some clues on the wall (white arrows) that lead you out another way. I would highly recommend headlamps. If you have difficulty getting around large obstacles, claustrophobia, or you’re afraid of the dark this trail is not for you. Hope this helps!

Monday, June 11, 2018

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.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

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
Friday, February 16, 2018

My husband and I spent the afternoon here. It was beautiful and unexpected. We hadn’t even realized this National Park existed prior to Googling, “things to do near Monterey”.

hiking
Monday, January 22, 2018

This trail is an excellent trail if you're wanting to see some views and do some caving. There are a few spots where the trail becomes a little unclear. Overall, it's pretty fun.

hiking
Monday, January 15, 2018

Did this as a family hike. It was a little tough for my four year old, but he’s a trooper. Carried my two year old on my back in a soft structured carrier, even through the cave portion. Some spots were a little tight (I had to instruct her to keep her head on my back to avoid bumps). It is possible, contrary to what a few people told me exiting the cave. I’m fairly experienced with the carrier, and also on the thin side so it may not be possible for all to go through with a toddler on their back. Head lamp would be useful, as two hands are required at some points in the cave portion. A lot of fun though! I would totally go again.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Loved it. Beautiful views. I would say moderate. The cave portion was difficult to navigate, but there are painted arrows to guide you. I’d advise bringing a headlamp. We didn’t and just used a iPhone flashlight so that made it a little more challenging at times.

hiking
Saturday, August 26, 2017

guided trails, easy-moderate, caves

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Great hike. The cave is fun but a bit narrow at points so don't get stuck. Took us about 1 hour. This hike is only accessible from the West side and definitely worth the detour.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Great hike!

hiking
Saturday, April 15, 2017

Taking the Balconies Cliffs Trail and bypassing the caves is recommended for those that are heavy set or elderly. I would not recommend really heavy set or elderly to go through the caves because there are spots that you have to literally crawl to get under a large rock and narrow passages where a larger person will not fit. The cliffs trail offers some beautiful views of the rock formations with some great photo op spots. It can be a bit steep and the pathway is narrow (maybe 2 feet wide) but if you pace yourself and rest when needed, it really isn't too strenuous. I did feel the burn in my glutes but once I reached the peak, I just needed a minute for relief and continued.

hiking
6 days ago

recorded Balconies Cave Trail

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

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