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green Bench Trail

Trail

2.5 mile 4.1 kilometer point to point
Easy

Elevation

Ascent: 104' 32 m
Descent: -75' -23 m
High: 1,043' 318 m
Low: 967' 295 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Trail shared by QuinTCM TCM

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An open trail with distant views of pinnacles that connects the campground to the rest of the park.

QuinTCM TCM

Features Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly This is a mild, flat trail. Peaks View includes some telescopes that kids may enjoy looking through.

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

Description

The Bench Trail trailhead is accessed at the end of the road for the group campsites. From the trailhead, take this flat, easy trail southwest to a junction with a dirt road. Continue south on the dirt road. Briefly walk on the dirt road till the trail once again turns southwest (continuing south on the dirt road will lead to the South Wilderness Trail.) Follow the trail as it turns northwest and winds its way along a dry creek bed towards a small parking lot and a location called Peaks View. This is a good place to catch a far-off glimpse of some of the peaks and pinnacles that make up the High Peaks area of the park.

Leaving Peaks View, continue northwest on the trail. Eventually, two small bridges will come into view. Continue on the trail by walking over the dry creek bed on these two bridges to a junction with the Bear Gulch Trail. The Bear Gulch Trail continues southwest while the Bench Trail again turns northwest towards the Old Pinnacles region of the park. Follow the trail northwest as it passes underneath the road and passed the junction for the High Peaks Trail. Crossing over a bridge, the trail ends where it meets Old Pinnacles Trail.

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.

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Check-Ins

Jun 17, 2019
Andrii Khmelkov
Apr 1, 2019
Dan P
Aug 25, 2018
Travis Calanoc
May 26, 2018
Judy Huang
Apr 10, 2018
Maremare 110
Jun 23, 2017
Lindsay Parks
Jan 18, 2017
Brittany Sonke
Quick hike on the way back to San Jose. Lots of uphill one way. 3mi
Nov 12, 2016
Tilman Giese

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 3 votes

#18044

Overall
  3.0 from 3 votes
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Trail Rankings

#2,070

in California

#18,044

Overall
3 Views Last Month
306 Since Apr 10, 2015
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