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Juniper Canyon Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (6)

A winding, steep trail through Juniper Canyon with views of many pinnacles.


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Map Key

1.8

Miles

3.0

KM

Point to Point

2,468' 752 m

High

1,386' 422 m

Low

1,138' 347 m

Up

56' 17 m

Down

12%

Avg Grade (7°)

36%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers

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

Description

The Juniper Canyon Trail trailhead is accessed from the Balconies Trail near the parking lot at the Chaparral Picnic Area on the west side of the park. However, this trail can also be accessed by a couple connector trails that connect the west side parking lot directly to it.

This trail heads south towards the high peaks region of the park and is the only means of accessing the high peaks from the west side. The trail begins by gradually ascending up Juniper Canyon, which is filled with chaparral and several species of trees. Rock formations like Crumbling Castle, Goat Rock, and Resurrection Wall are easily seen from this part of the trail. Below Resurrection Wall, however, the trail enters a series of steep switchbacks. Rock formations like Palisade Pinnacle, Monument, and Tombstone can all be seen along this part of the trail. Nearing the top of this first section of switchbacks, the trail junctions with the Tunnel Trail heading north.

Passing the Tunnel Trail, the Juniper Canyon Trail continues south passed Chaos Crag through some more switchbacks before straightening out. Continue ascending passed rock formations like Trafalgar Tower, Pyramid Pinnacle, and The Cone. Near the end of the trail, enter another series of switchbacks before topping out at the junction with the High Peaks Trail. A small bathroom is located at the top. Scout Peak (2605ft, 794m) can be accessed from this location.

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

QuinTCM TCM

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 6 votes

#6147

Overall
  4.5 from 6 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
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Trail Rankings

#524

in California

#6,147

Overall
6 Views Last Month
1,981 Since Apr 10, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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33%
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Photos

The view of the Pinnacles from the western side of the park (as seen near the junction between Juniper Canyon Trail and the High Peaks) proved one of our favorites.
Aug 9, 2018 near Soledad, CA
Condor 606 (Black 6) soars above the High Peaks. You can tell it is a condor by the white triangle under the wings instead of the all the feathers being white on the tips.
Dec 1, 2018 near Soledad, CA
California Condor hanging out on the high peaks trail.
Feb 24, 2016 near Soledad, CA
Pinnacles National Monument
May 26, 2015 near Soledad, CA
Exploring a sweet cave on Juniper Canyon.
May 26, 2015 near Soledad, CA
Looking towards Machete Ridge from the Balconies Trail.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA

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Check-Ins

May 11, 2020
Mike Nugent
Just Tunnels to High Peaks
Nov 3, 2018
Seth Klarity
Jul 22, 2018
Claire Metka
May 18, 2018
Jake Hall
Apr 21, 2018
Victoria Yau
Feb 17, 2018
Maxwell Gover
Dec 17, 2017
Aaron Vizzini
1.8mi
Feb 5, 2017
David Hitchcock
Hiked down the trail as part of the loop with the High Peaks and Balconies Trail. 1.8mi