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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.

Length 2.6 mi Elevation gain 400 ft Route type Out & Back
Kid friendly Hiking Cave Views Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky Scramble No dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

The Bear Gulch and Balconies Caves can periodically be closed due to bat activity and dangerous conditions such as high waters during or after a storm. Please check for current cave conditions here: https://www.nps.gov/pinn/planyourvisit/cavestatus.htm Bring a headlamp for the cave portion!

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (192)
Photos (897)
Recordings (146)
Completed (606)
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Dan Nicholson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 22, 2020
HikingGreat!

Came here after a work day. I was here and did the high peaks trail in August and it was ridiculous how hot it was then. Today was very nice. Only maybe 90 when I started and getting more I got through the trail, it cooled down a lot. It especially cooled down in the caves. That was definitely the high light of the trail. It was awesome going through. The balconies were cool too. I definitely recommend this trail. Can’t wait to explore more in this cool park.

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ninya i.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2020
Hiking

Torturous. It’s not even warm, it’s damn hot. No shades. Take 10 bottles of water with you. Bring an umbrella and electric fan (aircon, if possible). Bring raw food, expose it to the sun, and it’ll be cooked by the time you’re done. Wear nothing.

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Stefan Lutz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

Fantastic hike but brutally hot. The last 2 or 3 miles felt like you walked in an convection oven ... blowing hot dry air. Back at the car, the thermometer read 112 deg F! Start EARLY and bring at least two nalgene’s with water. There is a chance to refill at each parking lot.

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Pavithra Udupa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
HikingGreat!

We entered from the west entrance. The caves part of this trail was closed. We took the balconies cliff trail. We reached the park before 8:30am. The parking area is limited and was filled before 9am. Due to the heat the ideal time to complete any hikes would be 12:00pm or start after 3:30 pm. Very less people which was a good thing. The National Park fee is waved off.

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Peter Milford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2020
Hiking
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Yasmin Karimi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 17, 2020

Did this trail pre - covid and while the cave was open. Amazing views and the cave was unreal!! Easy trail for young kids or elderly (who are in decent shape).

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Mark Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 29, 2020
Hiking

The first section of this trail is pretty easy. Once you get to the Y in the trial, you can head up to the Cliffs or take a right and go into the cave. We went to the cave first, but most hikers seemed to be coming from the other direction. Either way you go, the cliffs have a bit of a steep incline. You dont see much from there, except some good views of rock climbers if they are out. Glad we went that way, but if you're just interested in the caves and want to make it a less strenuous hike, take the right in the Y of the road, go to thru the caves and turn around and come out the same way.

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Dawn & Wesley Vigario
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 17, 2020
HikingFeeScramble

Arrived at 8:30 Sunday morning. 2/16/20. Headed to Juniper/High Peaks:Tunnel Trail, then on to Steep and Narrow as advised by ranger at Visitor Center check in. It was a great trail with lots to see. Very cool start, but warmed up quickly due to climb. (We’ve done Upper Yosemite Falls, and this trail is much easier, but a great mid range moderate). Not easy for those with young children or baby carriers. The Steep and Narrow looks daunting, but was easier than I first thought. Went backwards on parts of descent which helps. After a quick lunch we completed the Balconies Cave Cliffs Loop before entering the cave. We were ready with headlamps, and found we didn’t get wet at all, as many had stated. Loved the thrill of spelunking. Done by 12:30 p.m.

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Charlie Convery
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 9, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

A short sweet hike with great views and cool, damp caves. Would recommend starting with the Balconies cliffs then descending through the caves on the way back

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Darcel Ross
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 19, 2020
HikingFloodedRocky

Awesome

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Larry Jarrett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 4, 2020
Hiking

Great Hike! We were pleasantly surprised for our first hike in Pinnacles NP. We did the Balconies, and Cave loop. Now I know why this trail is so popular.

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Alicia Cruz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 28, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

We hiked this trail clockwise. This allows you to see the views first then climb down into the valley and caves part of the trail, where you’re likely to get wet. It was difficult to find the caves at first, because we were essentially walking up a creek. Make sure you have a flashlight and have a plan for taking off your shoes or just waterproof shoes. The deepest it got was 6-8inches of water. Very cool caving experience though and lots of scrambling and maneuvering around huge boulders. We did see a small bat in one of the darker parts of the cave.

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Julianne Stober
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 20, 2019
Hiking

Bugs. A heckin lot, swarming at all altitudes. But I guess that’s nature ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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MD ARIFUZZAMAN
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 14, 2019
Flooded
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Jess Marrufo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 2, 2019
HikingBugsNo shadeRockyScramble

Firme trail. Loved it

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Jess Mooney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 21, 2019
Hiking

It's a fun, easy trail that is a bit anticlimactic compared to caves in Rainier and Vermont. I was a little surprised that this park is a National one...seems more like a monument. It was simple and interesting, though, and the walk alone is quite pretty. I'd do it again if I was heading down the highway.

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Laura Torres
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2019
HikingRockyScramble
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Kensey Nichols
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 29, 2019
Hiking

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

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Faye Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2019
Hiking

easy trail, wild life, beautiful.

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J B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

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!

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Helena Giammarco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2019
Hiking

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.

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