COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More
Hiking Project Logo

Balconies Trail



0.7 mile 1.1 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 11' 3 m
Descent: -100' -30 m
High: 1,385' 422 m
Low: 1,296' 395 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by QuinTCM TCM

A flat, easy trail leading to the Balconies area of Pinnacles National Park.


Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly Easy, flat trail the leads to a cave and some impressive rock formations.

Check for raptor closures before attempting any off-trail hiking or climbing.


This trail can be accessed in several ways from the Chaparral Trailhead Parking area located on the west side of the park. Either head north through the picnic area and find the obviously marked trail heading east out of the picnic area or take one of the two connector trails from the parking lot to the Juniper Canyon Trail. Head north on the Juniper Canyon Trail for a very short distance. The Juniper Canyon Trail ends where it meets the Balconies Trail moving east.

This is an easy, flat trail leading to The Balconies area of the park. The trail is at first open and airy, offering views of two of Pinnacles most imposing rock formations, Machete Ridge to the east and The Balconies to the west.

At the third small bridge crossing, however, the trail enters The Balconies area and gets up and close with the rock formations. The trail passes formations called The Shepherd, Hummingbird Spire, The Gameshow, and the obviously looming large Machete Ridge. The trail ends at a junction with the Balconies Cliffs Trails and the Balconies Cave Trail after a small bridge crossing.

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.

Wild flowers 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.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

ADA Accessible, Need to Know

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow hikers know what's here.


Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In


May 18, 2018
Jake Hall
Mar 12, 2016
Hubbard Gravlee
Done as part of the big park loop

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 1 vote


  3.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in California


5 Views Last Month
245 Since Apr 9, 2015



Pinnacles National Park on the Balconies trail.
Feb 2, 2016 near Soledad, CA
Looking towards Machete Ridge from the Balconies Trail.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA
The Balconies Trail is stunning.
May 26, 2015 near Soledad, CA
Some rocks along Balconies Trail.
May 26, 2015 near Soledad, CA
Pinnacle Rocks
Aug 6, 2017 near Soledad, CA
The Balconies Trail works its way under the rocks through this area.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA


Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking