32 miles of trails are sprinkled in springtime with poppies, lupine, and mariposa lilies, which are pollinated by 400 bee species. As you hike through varied landscapes which include lava flows and prairies, you will encounter a vast array of wildlife. Lizards, tarantulas, and mountain lions hike the hills too. Here are some of the most exciting hikes in Pinnacles National Park:
This seven-mile round trip takes you through a spectacular grove of oak trees, and teems with wildlife. The trail takes you to the park boundary, following the Bench Trail to the South Wilderness marker.
Follow sparkling Chalone Creek via the Old Pinnacles Trail to arrive at Balconies Cave. To get up close to the park's gargantuan formations, follow the Balconies Cliffs Trail to be rewarded with spectacular views. Be sure to bring a torch for exploring the cave, and be advised that the nine-mile round trip takes between four and six hours to complete.
Seven miles of trail take you into the High Peaks area, and then down into verdant meadows speckled with wildflowers. On the way, you'll pass sycamore, buckeye, and stately oaks. The trek takes between four and five hours.
Venture into this volcanic wilderness to discover vast spires of glowing red rock. Scale the cliffs yourself for a truly visceral experience of the park, or explore via unmarked trails. Here are some of the park's most thrilling adventures:
Perhaps the most thrilling outward bound activity in the park is climbing its iconic rock formations. A variety of climbing routes cater to all skill and experience levels. From simple top rope climbs to multi-pitch scrambles along Machete Ridge, there's a climb for you. Learn more about climbing, equipment, and instruction at the park's Visitor Centers.
A five-mile hike takes you into the red heart of the Pinnacles rock formations. House-sized rocks loom precipitously overhead. On the way, you'll discover the Steep and Narrow portion of the High Peaks Trail. The Moses Spring Trail intersects with this walk, offering a scenic detour should you wish to check out this varied wilderness in more detail.
A thirty-mile volcanic field forms the basis of the present National Park. Capturing millions of years in its complex geology, the park's dramatic rock formations can be seen on hikes like the North Wilderness Trail Loop to the Chalone Creek Bed, Old Pinn Trail to Balconies Cave and at the park's Visitor Center. Interactive displays and guides illuminate your outward bound forays with fascinating insights.
Spot the regal, endangered California Condor soaring high over the towering rock formations. Explore caves inhabited by Big-eared Bats. Hike through wildernesses defined by soaring shards of rock. There is much to delight little ones at Pinnacles National Park, including:
Your family will be fascinated by the impressive formations that adorn the ceiling of Bear Gulch Cave. The cave is inhabited by Townsend's Big-eared Bats in the winter, and they nurture their young here in the spring and summer. This is one of the species' largest colonies. From mid-July until May, the lower half of the cave is open to visitors. Follow the new Moses Spring Trail to the reservoir afterwards.
Nearly a hundred of these rare and distinctive birds soar through the air above Pinnacles National Park cabins. Report sightings to help the scientists grow the population. You can learn about the birds at the Visitor Center, and follow the biologists' nest monitoring, which takes place throughout the spring.
It's not just the California Condor that you can see when you stay in hotels near Pinnacles National Park. Some 400 other bird species flutter through the park. Snakes and coyotes, black-tailed deer, and red-legged frogs slither, dart and hop through its environs. See if you can spot some of these special species as you hike through wildife-watching trails like the Juniper Canyon and Moses Spring Loops. The latter is an especially brief hike that encompasses Bear Gulch Cave.