High Peaks Condor Gulch Trail

HARD 107 reviews
#1 of 24 trails in

High Peaks Condor Gulch Trail is a 4.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Pinnacles, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
4.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1476 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

cave

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

Essential loop at the Pinnacles, one of the best hiking locales in central California High Peaks Trail at Pinnacles National Monument threads its way through the wreckage of a volcano destroyed by the San Andreas Fault millions of years ago. The Monument, about 100 miles south of San Jose, California, celebrates the strange assortment of rock formations created as the volcano gave way to greater forces of plate tectonics. This loop from the eastern entrance of the Pinnacles provides the most direct route to the High Peaks, where a series of ladders and multiple tight squeezes take hikers through a geological maze that has made the Pinnacles a favorite among hikers from throughout California. While the rocks and expansive vistas are the main attractions, you might get lucky and spot some of the rare California condors that nest in the park and soar high above. Trails on this hike: Condor Gulch Trail; High Peaks Trail; Bear Gulch Trail. Starting from the Bear Gulch parking area, you can go either way. Condor Gulch Trail is a bit steeper, so you may want to start out there to get your climbing done on fresh legs and spare your knees on the way down. Best time to go: Springtime adds wildflowers to the awesome scenery, making it a near perfect hike. Summer will be too hot and autumn may be too dry, but winter should be gorgeous if you give the trails a couple days to dry out after passing storm systems. $15 Park Entrance Fee

2 days ago

We got a little bit of everything in this loop, got to walk through a zing caves and see six condors.

hiking
23 days ago

We did the loop clock-wise starting at the Bear Gulch area. It was a demanding yet fulfilling hike. Saw plenty of condors. If you can't find a parking spot in the Bear Gulch trail -head parking lot and you hope to do the hike between 10am and 5pm on a weekend, then there is a free shuttle service between the Visitor Centre and the above said trail-head. We used that.

24 days ago

Awesome hiking trail!

25 days ago

Great hike and got the a chance to see a California Condor.

1 month ago

This hike is the best in Pinnacles National Park!! Awesome views and great chance to see Condors!!

hiking
1 month ago

Worth the hard incline for the views at the top! Loved the narrow peaks part of the trail with the rocks that had holes for your feet carved in to climb up and around the rocks & the single railing ledges! Definitely for the more adventurous hiker!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Due to overcast skies, we didn't see any condors and the Peaks were obscured a bit, but still a nice hike. Will more than likely go again in order to get a true view of everything.

hiking
1 month ago

The rock formations are so fascinating and the condors are so majestic if you get to see them! We learned that January and February is when you will see more of them in the park. We got there very early and parked at the Bear Gulch area upper parking lot. We went clockwise and didn't find the Steep and Narrows section to be that difficult going down (all in all, took us about 3.5 hours). It will definitely get your heart rate up, but the views are stunning.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! Saw three condors and lots of other birds.

2 months ago

The steep and narrow part is for real steep and narrow. If you have young children or any mobility issues this hike may not be for you. The views are truly stunning and even though it is only 4 miles it feels like a hearty hike. Highly recommended, bring your cameras.

2 months ago

Loved this trail. Saw 2 condors! It is steep but not bad.

2 months ago

One of my favorite hikes! Went on Thanksgiving weekend with my sisters. Had no clue how cool the pinnacles were. We started on the condor gulch trail side which was an uphill workout all the way to the high peaks. We had lunch on one of the rocks at the steep and narrows section overlook and saw 3 California condors flying together. Awesome day and great exercise.

3 months ago

Amazing views and actual condors loitering over the Gulch. The "high and narrow" section lives up to the name, with some near-vertical stone steps. The actual trail surface is pretty smooth though, and easy to traverse. Lots of switchbacks help with the elevation.

3 months ago

Great hike with awesome views! I did this in the counterclockwise direction. The high peaks section is beautiful and the cut outs in the rock are a fun addition. It’s definitely a moderate hike, though.

3 months ago

What a great trail! Alot of uphill but well worth the effort!

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail. The steep and narrow portion is fun. Condors perching and flying. Hike early as very little shade. We finished at 11 am and park rangers were already discouraging individuals from starting the trail at that time because of the heat even thought it was October.

5 months ago

Great hike! Perfect for hiking in winter:-)

6 months ago

Great hike

6 months ago

Great hike to condors and views

hiking
7 months ago

This was an amazing hike all around. As others have stated, be sure to bring plenty of water during summer months. This hike is definitely a workout, but the views are phenomenal. Pictures do not do this place justice. We went on a Friday and once we climbed closer to the peaks, we rarely saw other people. We saw quite a few condors up close once we made it to the top. I would suggest hiking this one on a week day if possible as I hear it can get busy on weekends.

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