Bear Gulch Caves and Reservoir Loop Trail

MODERATE 58 reviews
#4 of 24 trails in

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.

1.3 miles
383 feet

kid friendly



nature trips

rock climbing

trail running





wild flowers



no dogs

Directions from Bear Gulch Visitor Center: Follow Moses Spring Trail southward .6 miles to the caves.

5 days ago

really fun... great for kids!!

19 days ago

Great hike with nice views and amazing rocks formations. Some stairs and a lake to end it. Great photos to be taken here.

1 month ago

Such a fun and easy trail for people of all ages! We went on Black Friday and the park was definitely busier than usual but we still had no problem exploring the caves and getting to the reservoir. Can’t wait to go back!

1 month ago

Such a fun trail. We camped at Pinnacles on Black Friday and parked in front of this trail in the early morning Saturday. Beat the crowds, it was a fun easy trail. Went through Bear Gulch Cave to the reservoir and headed back on the Rim trail for a total of two miles. Lots of people out rock climbing. Definitely do this trail before 10 am as after 10 or so all the tourists will swamp the trail.

1 month ago

I wanted to go on a longer hike, but drive up there was longer than I expected. The caves were pretty awesome and Reservoir was beautiful.

2 months ago

Easy and fun.

3 months ago

Loved exploring this quiet trail whilst coming across plenty of wildlife! My DH and I saw Acorn Woodpeckers, Canyon Wrens, and a Condor! It was a neat experience and fun to explore my first cave. :-)

3 months ago

Fun My wife and I made the track, the only thing I got confused on it heading up to the lake the last turn. I am over 6 ft and had to crawl on a few spots. Still fun polls were good to have and water. I came back down the other trail not back through the caves. Fun and breath taking to see. My wife and I are staying at thousand trails so we are about 1/2 hr away. We are going back to explore we were winded but took our time lots of ages up to beyond 70 on the trail cool to see. It seemed like about 5 miles but very close hard to believe when you done.

4 months ago

6 months ago

Originally intended to hike High Peaks once again but it was extremely hot. Bear Gulch caves and reservoir provided refuge from the extreme heat. Little kids can do this short hike.

7 months ago

Beautiful short hike, with a nice water lake at the end. Good if you only have a little bit of time in Pinnacles.

8 months ago

by far one of my favorite trails at Pinnacle National Park! Its great on a hot day because the caves will keep you cool! It does have high traffic since its easy access for all types of hikers. Make sure to bring a flashlight, you'll need it.

11 months ago

Far exceeded my expectations! Wear waterproof gear if you don't want to get wet. We had a blast walking through the caves! The waterfall was roaring- lucky us! Take your time and go back through a second time. If someone is behind you and rushing you, step aside and let them pass. If people are yelling and being obnoxious (that was my experience...)I recommend letting those people pass as well and just enjoy being in the cave. Do this!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Nice talus cave formations of the ancient geological era

Friday, July 22, 2016

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.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Great trail, but gets narrow in the caves. Bring a flashlight unless you want to shuffle along in the pitch dark.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

short and enchanting, i love the waterfalls inside the cave.

13 days ago

17 days ago

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