High Peaks Trail

HARD 54 reviews
#3 of 23 trails in

High Peaks Trail is a 6.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Paicines, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and birding and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
6.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2011 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

no dogs

Directions from East Entrance Station: Follow the park road to Chalone Creek Picnic Area. The High Peaks Trail begins from there and ends at the Bear Gulch Visitor Center, which is 1.6 miles south.

5 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful views and well kept trails. I started my hike around 9 am and by 11 the temperature was about 105. It's a steady climb, but it felt extremely hard with the heat. Bring lots of water and I recommend taking breaks if done in the middle of the day.

3 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Hit the road at 5:30 and was on the trail at 8:15. Had a great workout on this hike this morning and totally worth it. Temp was right on the edge of warm but fine and there was a nice breeze much of the time. Sky was cobalt blue.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome trail! It's already very dry up there so bring lots of water.

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

4 months ago

This hike was gorgeous in April - not cold, not hot. We took the recommendation of the Park Ranger at the visitor center and started with the climb first - high peaks trail to tunnel trail to juniper canyon trail to balconies cave trail to old pinnacles trail. It was perfect. We had to park at Peaks View parking lot, so had an extra mile or so along the bench trail. 9.2 miles total. It was a great day!

hiking
4 months ago

Start early to beat the heat, and camel up with water. Diverse terrain and a variety of flora, fauna and scenic vistas make this hike a rich reward for your efforts. We began our clockwise circuit with some easy spelunking through the Bear Gulch Cave (roosting spot of the female Townsend's Bats) and followed the running sweet water back to its source at the Reservoir. Red legged frogs were successfully reintroduced into the reservoir, so sadly swimming through their habitat is not an option. However, your uphill climb will be rewarded with scenic peaks made even more stunning by Spring wildflowers. There is an unexpected outhouse near the top. At the peak, pick your fav rock to perch upon and enjoy a well earned shady respite under the pine tree canopy. We picnicked with California Condors soaring above, watched a squirrel eating Miner's Lettuce at our feet, and Cliff Swallows tending to their nest on the rock face. Chiseled rock steps will make you feel like you are in some ancient Game of Thrones style civilization. The hot descent was sweetened by the aromatics of sage and chaparral. The Camp Store has a decent selection of cold brews to soothe your tired soles. We also took the opportunity to snag a National Parks passport, and chopped it with a Pinnacles stamp, officially inspired to visit other parks.

5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

One of the best trail I will back soon for hike

hiking
5 months ago

This is a great trail. At times it's hard to believe you're still in California. We went the reverse route and made a quick loop around some caves which were really cool. Would definitely do again.

5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

If you have a good portion of the day to explore the park then this is a fantastic trail to take all the way to the High Peaks with so much changing topography. Here are some of my highlights and images to share on the hike http://travelphotodiscovery.com/exploring-pinnacles-national-park/

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

I recommend going the reverse route and saving the caves for the end of your hike. This trail was moderate...I would not rate this as "hard." We hiked a total of 6.1 miles and it took us about 3 1/2 hours with breaks and exploring the cave. We were lucky enough to see condors at the high peaks! By far the coolest part of the hike is navigating the narrows you climb stairs as steep as a ladder hanging on to a steel bar. I'm terrified of heights and wasn't sure if I could handle this but it was actually a lot of fun! You never feel like you're "on an edge." The safety bars are very sturdy. You have to be able to crawl and duck through narrow small spaces. It's pretty rad! The views were spectacular and the elevation gain was gradual. We started around 1:15 and finished around 4:45. The park visitors center closes at 5:00 this time of year (February) and the last bus back to the parking lot is at 5:30 so don't miss your ride! This trail doesn't offer much tree coverage at all so if you go on a hot day- make sure you're prepared for that. Enjoy this unique hike!