Explore the most popular birding trails near Pinnacles with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great hike. Did it in CCW direction and took the spur at the end to the reservoir. Tried to do caves on way back to car but chickened out. I’m 6’4” and claustrophobic. Thankfully there was an obvious bypass trail close by to go around caves!

A lovely hike. We came in mid-June and, originally, thought that we'd do the whole loop, continuing along the High Peaks Trail. By around noon, however, the hot weather started to get to us, so we decided to call it a day and hike down through the Condor Gulch instead.
For how short this loop is, it really does offer an outstanding taste of what Pinnacles are all about - lovely views most of the way and we even saw 4 condors - one soaring overhead and three sitting in a gulch in the Condor Gulch.
Highly recommended!

Great little unique trail. Pack enough water. And be prepared to scramble on rocks through narrow trail.

Great hike. Talus caves were very unique and fun to explore. Fairly easy hike but narrow in a couple spots. Stairs could be a but slippery but good railings to hold onto. Reservoir at the end was worth the extra time. Water was gross but it was still a pretty spot for a picinic. My 9yr and 3yr old did fine and had a great time wearing the headlamps.

Really awesome trail! Well maintained and not as strenuous as expected. I stopped multiple times for ten plus minutes and still made the loop in less than five hours. Great trail!

hiking
29 days ago

Very good trail. Awesome views and narrow trail section that makes you pay attention to your footing. Makes you feel like your rock climbing to a point. Overall the trail is smooth and not too steep. Usually crowded during peak times. I would stay away in the summer it gets way too hot. Best in spring when the flowers are plentiful. Be sure to stop along the way and soak up the views.

Did this hike in the direction shown on All Trails and I thought it was nice for this time of year (Oct). Not too hot in Condor and i liked the direction we took up the steps and down the switchbacks. Views were amazing. Fun times with the carved steps and rails with my 5-year old. Saw two tarantulas and three condors. Nice day.

Moderate hike with very beautiful views. Go through the bear Gulch caves for bonus experience. It is not shown in this all trails map.

High Peaks Condor Gulch Trail parking at Bear Gulch area then onto Bear Gulch Trail thru caves, and then onto the high peaks can be an e moderate hike depending on conditions, and the views are spectacular of the surrounding hills and valleys. This hike of High Peaks Condor Gulch Trail in Pinnacles National Park is well worth doing, great all year long. This video was shot on the relatively wide trail of Eastern side of the Peaks, so very little of both ticks and Poison oak as hazards if you don't get too close to the sides or go off trail. Lots of wildlife if you look for it. It was very hot, so carry lots of water. Take binoculars to see the Condors close up.
A Virtual Treadmill video of this hike can be seen on my YouTube Channel, copy and paste link below to watch it. Thanks.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFO02nxPdM4-CabegFIPlow?view_as=subscriber

Do this hike clockwise as suggested. Its easier because there is zero shade on the Condor gulch side. It was 94 when we went and it was probably like 104 up by the rocks. Bring a good amount of water. I brought 2 liters and drank every drop of it.

All of it was worth it. But in the heat it is hard. Expect condors, spectacular rock formations, and breathtaking views and and interesting stretch of climbing up and through narrow pathways and man made rock ladders. Definitely didn't disappoint. We loved it.

Lots of foot traffic but doesn't distract from the beauty

Very beautiful, very hot. Wear sunblock, a hat and Extra water.

Middle part of the trail had lots of good spots for scrambling! Can get very hot so make sure to bring enough water.

Hard. In 112 degree heat wouldn’t recommend.

I recommend doing this trail counter clockwise so you save all the fun stuff till the end!

Very fun hike. Not too strenuous but it’s still uphill. The caves are very cramped especially at the end. We had to crawl on our knees across a metal grate to get out. The loop back was very easy going.

Listen to Mark. (see below)

I would give this hike a 4 star for spring/ winter but not for July.

If you must go in the summer time, please do the high peaks early in the AM. We started at the high peaks trail head at 7:30 AM and were at the top by 9:30. It is moderate difficulty but is do able. Old pinnacles trail was less interesting given the lack of lush vegetation and flat trail, but it is good for beginners.

Take plenty of electrolytes and at least 2 liters of water per person and enjoy the journey. It makes for some awesome stories. :)

Disclosure: I haven’t been hiking in years and I’m very out of shape. The first part of this trail was great! Old pinnacles to the balconies cave. Had we any sense, we would have looped back around from there. But nope. We hit the juniper trail from west entrance up to high peaks. That was tough. Huge leg workout. Needed to stop frequently. But we got up to the tunnel trail fork and had lunch. Great views. Took the high peaks trail back to old pinnacles and nearly got heat stroke because there was zero shade and the temp was 110. Do this in cooler temps or very early in the morning.

My daughter and her boyfriend were up from SoCal. They joined my son and I who had hiked this trail back in the Spring. We all left San Jose at 6:30 am to try and beat the heat. We were on the trail at roughly 8:30 am with plenty of water, cooling towels, and provisions.

We added the hike to the caves so my daughter could experience it, but hadn't seen that they were closed. We were shunted around to the reservoir. We charged our cooling towels in the reservoir and headed up the high peaks.

As we were expecting, it was warming up as the day wore on, but it was comfortable. There was occasional shade and we stopped for breathers. We made it to the bench in about 2 hours. We stopped and ate our snacks and enjoyed the view. We saw a few other hikers although more coming from the opposite direction.

We continued the high peaks. Saw some birds that may have been condors. No bird experts in our group

As we worked our way down, the temperature rapidly rose and our towels were losing their cooling ability.

It's a long, dry, steep hike back down to the cars on Condor Gultch Trail. The scenery is gorgeous, though, and well worth it.

We got back to the car, exhausted. It was about 12:30 pm when we arrived.

Everyone loved the hike. What really surprised me was how many people we passed heading up as we were coming down and the heat was rising. Very impressed.

We stopped at the park store on the way out and enjoyed some cool drinks. The ladies in the store were delightful.

It was a great day at Pinnacles.

went on a 100 degree day at 2:30pm...

1. bring water. i often bring water but never drink it. so glad i had it on this trip. went though 24 oz because i didn’t have more.

2. california condors look like turkey vultures. “they” say there are 30 or so in the park. i saw 6-8 of them. win!

3. i really liked the trail. rapid ascents and switchbacks. some hand rails at the top and narrow passages. good leg workout day.

word !

I would say that the view at Scout Peak and Hawkins Peak is way better than what you get at the Condor Gulch overlook point. And it is easier to start clock-wise than climbing up from the Condor Gulch Trail.

This trail has everything - incline, a bit of rock climbing, if you extend 1 mile to see the reservoir then you'll get to hike through caves too. There's no shade for most part of the trail so wear a hat and bring lots of water. Go early too for a chance to see the condors. We started the hike at 7:30 AM and got to see 6 condors.

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.

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.

Start early and avoid the heat!

Great hike. We added on the reservoir and I would highly recommend it. Go early. Pretty exposed. We went and had cloud coverage the entire hike so it helped but I can imagine in the sun it would very warm. Saw condors at the end after looping through the reservoir area.

I don’t consider myself an advanced hiker and did this no problem. Yes it has elevation up with first 2 miles or so but take breaks and it is absolutely doable. I was concerned because of the rating but nailed it!

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.

Caves were crowded. Would go earlier next time.

Very pretty. Bring lots of water, I went through 3L

This was a nice trail. The cave was very cool. Take your time and listen to the sounds you can hear in the canyon.

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