Bear Gulch Day Use Area to Reservoir via Rim Trail

MODERATE 93 reviews
#4 of 29 trails in

Bear Gulch Day Use Area to Reservoir via Rim Trail is a 1.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pinnacles, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
1.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
442 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

cave

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

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

hiking
1 month ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

The most beautiful hike I’ve ever been on. Make sure to wear good hiking shoes and be aware of the rattle snakes. Hike was easy. Sucked that the cave was closed due to the bats.

hiking
3 months ago

Caves were crowded. Would go earlier next time.

3 months ago

This trail is part of our 12.5 miles loop, heavy traffics on Saturday, Bear gulch and caves are well maintained. Headlamps or small flashlights would be fun for little ones. The reservoir is great place for lunch with cool breezes.

hiking
3 months ago

Great short hike with a lot of variety. We walked through an underwater stream, up stairs notched into the side of the mountain, through caves and enjoyed a few minutes at a reservoir before heading back. Young kids did well. there was one place where we had to take the baby out of his carrier to make it through but that wasn't a big deal.

hiking
4 months ago

My friend and I were just passing by and told the ranger we only had a couple of hours but really wanted to go on a hike and experience part of the park. She was super excited and got us to do this trail and it was AMAZING! The hike was too easy, in the sense that we were hiking with toddlers, screaming children and some teenagers who thought the whole park wanted to listen to their rap music (it was satisfying to hear the teenagers get told off by an older man explaining that it was mating season for bats and how would they like it if a bunch of strangers blasted country music while they were being "intimate"?)
Only thing we would do different next time was go earlier in the day and pack to keep going onto the high peaks trail, next time we are going to see the condors if we have to stay up there all day!

5 months ago

Good to do with the family

5 months ago

my family had so much fun going through the cave. the hike was perfect.

hiking
6 months ago

Fun hike that we have done several times now. Short hike from the Nature center to the lower cave (upper cave area is closed). Lots of poison oak around that is starting to bloom. I would suggest continuing on to the reservoir for lunch or a snack, it loops back around to the nature center. Beautiful views of the rock formations and always get to stop and watch in awe at the rock climbers. If you have a chance to camp, do it! One of our favorite campgrounds and gives you more time to hike around on other trails.

6 months ago

This was my very first cave trail! There’s climbers to your left and lift, beautiful green moss everywhere, and the caves are wonderful! I loved it!

7 months ago

really fun... great for kids!!

7 months ago

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

hiking
8 months 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!

8 months 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.

hiking
8 months 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.

9 months ago

Easy and fun.

hiking
10 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. :-)

hiking
10 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.

hiking
11 months ago

11 months ago

Very nice

hiking
Monday, July 17, 2017

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.

hiking
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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

hiking
Sunday, May 07, 2017

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.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Beautiful hike.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

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:

https://www.nps.gov/pinn/planyourvisit/cavestatus.htm

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.

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