“An open, airy trail offering stunning views from the tallest point in Pinnacles National Park.”
— QuinTCM TCM
Check for raptor closures before attempting any off-trail hiking or climbing.
Bring lots of water! None is available along the trail.
Features: Views — Wildflowers
Dogs: No Dogs
From Bear Gulch Reservoir, the trail is located on the south side of the dam. The trail follows the contours of the reservoir for a short distance before turning south towards Pinnacles highest points. The trail maintains a steady ascent passed such rock formations as The Sisters, The Love Handles, Kasparek's, Ridge Rock, The Hatchet, Gertie's Pinnacle, The Goal Posts, The Driver, Cortadura Wall, and The Yaks. Eventually, near the end of the hike, the trail joins a dirt road before terminating at an old fire lookout tower on North Chalone Peak, the highest point in Pinnacles National Park. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow. Once you've had your fill, head back the way you came!
To extend this hike and before heading back, consider taking the unmaintained South Chalone Peak Trail
and the second highest point in the park.
Flora & Fauna
Pinnacles is currently one of five release sites for California Condors. The park hosts more than thirty of these scavengers. These birds are best seen in the higher regions of the park and can also often be seen on a hill behind the campsites. Pinnacles is also home to many species of raptors and other birds and is an excellent area for birding.
Wildflowers like Larkspur, California buckeye, Elegant clarkia, California buckwheat, Mariposa lily, Bush poppy, Gray mule-ears, Indian Warrior, California poppy and many others are abundant in spring.
Look for manzanita shrubs interspersed among patches of chaparral.
The park is also home to around 300 different species of lichens, which are easily visible on the many rock formations they color.