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Juniper Canyon Trail to High Peaks [CLOSED]

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Pinnacles National Park

Juniper Canyon Trail to High Peaks [CLOSED] is a 4.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Paicines, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Length 4.5 mi Elevation gain 1,259 ft Route type Loop
Hiking Nature trips Rock climbing Bird watching Running Forest River Views Wild flowers Wildlife Closed No dogs
Description
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Getting There

Note: as of September 2020, trails in this area are closed due to wildfire. See park page for more information. Beautifully shaded by the surrounding trees and chaparral for most of the hike but it can get very hot very quick. It begins fairly easy and quickly gains difficulty as you gain elevation. You will need plenty of water and watch out blackberry bushes and Mountain Misery which are both abundant.

There is parking at the ranger station as well as restrooms and picnic areas.

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

Directions from Soledad: Follow Highway 146 12 miles to the Chaparral Ranger Station. The trail begins from the southern end of the parking area.

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Reviews (211)
Photos (1309)
Recordings (195)
Completed (704)
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Ryne Wirtjes
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Hiking

Fun. Pretty. Happy

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Tatiana Jiselle
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

What a unique hike! The rock is volcanic so its soft which causes a bit more rock breakaway on the hike. The park hit 105 degrees today around noon. Start EARLY! As early as possible to avoid the heat. We took the suggestion of the others and did the loop counter clockwise which was awesome! It not only gave us an advantage on the incline in the earlier morning but also allowed us to have a ton of shade on the majority of our hike as we were in the opposite side from the sun. There are some rock shambles— would recommend trekking poles for the top but we did without them just fine, theyre just a nice to have. Bring lots of water. Im a petite female and drank about 3L. But bring 1L more than you think you’ll drink. You’ll want extra because once you get caught in the heat you will need it. If youre heat sensitive fill your water with electrolytes. Overall time took 3H (including a 15-20min break for lunch along the high peak)! We started around 8am. Oh! And we saw like 5-7 condors swooping the sky for food along the high peaks!!

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Karen Henderson
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HikingGreat!No shadeRocky

This is a beautiful hike, the scenery is like a mini Zion. We saw at least two condors. Distinguish them from the vultures by the white patches under their wings and the ten ft wingspan. We hiked this trail on August 31st, it was hot and there wasn't much shade. Bring extra water and drink it all. I was also glad that I wore my hiking shoes because it is rocky.

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Brett Chamberlin
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Hiking
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Scott Loescher
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Hiking
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Mary McArthur
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Hiking
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Molly Malloy
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Rock climbingGreat!Rocky

Tough hike, but worth the effort. Wear good trail runners or a breathable hiking shoe and bring LOTS of water. This isn’t a trail for beginner hikers, it would be good to have some experience before doing this one.

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Matthew Rowe
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HikingRocky

Fun hike with great views. Bring food and lots of water with you if hiking in the summer. Low attendance (west side), closed visitor center and very limited ranger activity so you are pretty much on your own right now due to COVID-19 closure. Would definitely recommend for moderately experienced hikers.

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Martha Negrete
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HikingNo shadeOff trailRockyScramble

Very moderate to difficult hike. Elevation was a factor which made the hike challenging. It took us around an hour and a half to almost finish this hike. Although it was super hot and rocky when we went, the hike was totally worth the views. This hike definitely challenged me! I would recommend this hike to more experienced hikers as the elevation makes it tiresome quite fast. I would suggest using another trail if you have small children.

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Yasmin Karimi
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Great vistas of the rock formations on this trail! Elevation gain was a bit steep for my friends who are not used to hiking so we made frequent stops on the uphill portion. If you're using the east entrance and want to see more of the park, then recommend this trail after you've done the cave trails (which are the real gems in this NP!). Wouldn't recommend coming to the east side just to do this trail though, as I think the west side trails generally are better and offer more variety. Remember - you have to commit to east vs. West side of the park at the start of your day as it is a long drive to get from one side to another (you have to exit the park and go all the way around) and there are no shuttles between the two sides. Only other way to get from one side to another is to hike it which requires a couple hours or trekking.

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Maria Martinez
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Hiking

Nice hike with a good incline but currently the Highpeak trail was closed off halfway up. Will try again maybe it will open

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Brad Whitcomb
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Hiking

Very green from recent rain. The trail was in great condition. On high peaks trail saw 4-6 condors. Wildflowers in bloom. Lavender juniper. The stairs and ledges were doable and quite fun. Will definitely do this trail again if I’m ever back in the area.

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Mark Johnson
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Hiking

Fun trail that gives you a good introduction to Pinnacles. Pretty steady uphill after you get past the first 3/4 of a mile. Once we got to the first fork, we chose to go left to the Tunnel first. Not sure I'd go that way again, felt more steep than coming down from the High Peaks side. Either way, fun trek though the tight areas along the ridge. We caught the sun coming down and definitely made the hike up seem well worth it. Condors were very active as well!

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Mike Bahr
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Hiking

Awesome trail, definitely can’t do that anywhere else. We started around 9:00 and saw half a dozen condors flying overhead. One of the rangers was about 2 miles up the trail watching a new condor nest, and let us look through her glass. Super cool. Also, the trail is more like 4.5 miles, the app shortchanged it. For anyone with kids or babies...not easy. I carried our girl in back carrier for all but the first half mile. There are several right and narrow spots. At the high peaks portion I had to lean out over the rail to get her around the rocks, and there’s a little tunnel that I had to get on hands and knees for as well. For any kid actually walking it, it will be exhausting. I would not recommend backpacking your kid through it unless both of you are comfortable in the backpack and have done it before. The high peaks portion has very few trees, which means almost no shade. I would recommend starting no later than 9 to avoid the heat A great hike, thank you to the boys of the CCC for making this trail almost 100 years ago!

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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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Mary Barkoczy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 2, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

That was a relatively short but brutal hike. The first chunk of switchbacks are fairly easy, but the second chunk is were the action happens. When they say "steep (narrow)" they are not exaggerating. Definitely not a good one with a baby pack, seriously get a sitter! The last chunk with the tunnel is easy, maybe even borderline cute and an appreciated respite after those "stairs". Overall a great hike!

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Erika Garcia
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HikingRocky
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Laura Tembreull
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Hiking

Nice hike!

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Jess Kawamura
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HikingRocky

Great hike! 4.5 miles. ~2.5 hours. The narrows aren’t too much, more of a fun change of pace. Great views and wild life. Glad we went counter clockwise!

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Rosie Quiroz
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Hiking

Strenuous, but quick hike.

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