High Peaks Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,419' 433 m
Descent: -1,793' -547 m
High: 2,585' 788 m
Low: 1,032' 315 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 82% (39°)
Popular hikes nearby
5.1 mi 8.2 km • Out and Back • 1,444 ft Ascent 440.22 m Ascent
Singletrack Soledad, CA( 31 )
Balconies and High Peaks Loop
9.0 mi 14.4 km • Loop • 1,718 ft Ascent 523.76 m Ascent
Singletrack Soledad, CA( 6 )
North Wilderness and Balconies Cave Loop
10.7 mi 17.2 km • Loop • 1,108 ft Ascent 337.58 m Ascent
Singletrack Soledad, CA( 4 )
Balconies Cave Loop
2.6 mi 4.3 km • Loop • 400 ft Ascent 121.84 m Ascent
Singletrack Soledad, CA( 12 )
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“The trail climbs to incredible views of the unique rock formations that give the park its name.”— QuinTCM TCM
Family Friendly Kids would definitely enjoy the Steep and Narrow Section of this trail. It is the getting there and the getting back that they might not enjoy.
Continuing along, the trail levels out for a short distance and a cliff face called Pinch or Lynch Wall can bee seen up beyond on the trail and slightly to the left. The trail eventually leads to a small man-made tunnel near the rock formations called Sew What Needles. Looking northeast, formations like The Flat-Iron, Salathe's Sliver, Nelson's Needle, and Generation Gap Pinnacle are easily visible. At this point, the trail begins to make a more steep ascent through a series of switchbacks before it levels out at the junction with the Tunnel Trail and the Steep and Narrow Section of the High Peaks Trail. A small bathroom is located here as well. It is also possible to access Scout Peak (2,605 ft, 794m) by hiking off-trail from this location.
The Steep and Narrow section of the High Peaks Trail consists of narrow stairs carved into the rock by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, as well as narrow passages protected by wooden walkways that pass over steep cliffs. This is indeed the highlight of the High Peaks Trail. Many rock formations are easily seen from this section of the trail, the most notable being Photographer's Delight, Long's Folly, The Fingers, and Condor Crags.
Following the Steep and Narrow Section, the trail meets the junction with the Tunnel Trail before opening up and descending towards Condor Gulch and the junction with the Condor Gulch Trail. Continue past the Condor Gulch Trail and chaparral-covered hillsides to where the trail ends at the Bench Trail.
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.
Hiked this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Need to Know
Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow hikers know what's here.
Land Manager: NPS - Pinnacles National Park