Hiking Project Logo

Balconies Cave Trail

Intermediate
 4.8 (6)

An excellent example of a talus cave that requires scrambling and climbing to get through.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

0.4

Miles

0.6

KM

Point to Point

1,318' 402 m

High

1,199' 365 m

Low

31' 10 m

Up

128' 39 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Cave · River/Creek

Family Friendly Climbing, scrambling, and a dark cave, these are all things kids enjoy.

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

Bring a headlamp or flashlight!

Description

If entering from the Balconies Trail, begin this trail by climbing over a large rock formation next to Machete Ridge, which sits to the east, and beneath another rock formation called Chockstone Dome.

Continue through a metal gate and pass beneath a series of smaller chockstones inside of a gravel filled cleft. From here, continue climbing and scrambling through the cave, using your flashlight or headlamp to reveal the path.

Eventually, the cave opens up near another metal gate. Pass through the metal gate and follow the small stream by scrambling over some more rocks till the trail opens up a bit before coming to a junction with Old Pinnacles Trail and the Balconies Cliffs Trails.

This trail requires some small stream crossings in parts.

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

QuinTCM TCM

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 6 votes

#858

Overall
  4.8 from 6 votes
5 Star
83%
4 Star
17%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#124

in California

#858

Overall
2 Views Last Month
471 Since Apr 13, 2015
Intermediate

0%
0%
100%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Tight spaces through the Balconies Cave - flashlight required! We hiked the Balconies Cave Loop trail on September 11, 2017. Very nice!
Aug 27, 2019 near Soledad, CA
Looking down into the cave.   It's a tight squeeze, but it's worth exploring.  Make sure you have a flashlight as there are areas where there is no light.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA
Rocks that have to be climbed over in the cave.  You can notice the creek running through the cave.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA
Getting ready to go through the Balconies cave.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Nov 11, 2018
Amy Lawrence
Jun 17, 2018
Mike Buoy
May 18, 2018
Jake Hall
Apr 15, 2018
Erica Kim
Feb 23, 2017
Anna Schwyter
Mar 19, 2016
Amanda Chevalier
Feb 27, 2016
David Hitchcock
Need a flashlight, its a tight squeeze in the cave. 0.4mi