“A beautiful trail above Bear Gulch Cave that passes beneath Moses Spring Wall.
— QuinTCM TCM
Check for raptor closures before attempting any off-trail hiking or climbing.
Family Friendly: This is a great trail with some fun sections that kids will enjoy. It is also great for making a short loop after or before climbing through Bear Gulch Cave.
The trailhead is accessed at the junction with the Bear Gulch Trail
and the High Peaks Trail
. At the junction, continue to ascend slightly passed a large rock formation called The Heffalump to the west of the trail. A little further ahead, the trail passes through a small man-made tunnel and rock formation called The Guardian at the tunnel's entrance. After the tunnel, the trail passes over a rock bridge and meets the junction to the Bear Gulch Cave Trail
Continue west past the Bear Gulch Cave Trail
where the trail turns directly south where Discovery Wall and Moses Spring Wall meet. Follow the trail south along as it moves between, around, and over rocks. A rock formation called The Camel is visible from this part of the trail high up on the Moses Spring Wall.
Shortly before the end of the trail, the huge cuboid formation called The Monolith will come into view. The trail heads around The Monolith to the east. Near this area is the mid-point exit of the Bear Gulch Cave
. Continuing around The Monolith, the trail eventually dips down into Bear Gulch and passes beneath several chockstones as well as passes over several small bridges. Here the trail meets with the Bear Gulch Cave Trail
before turning south, passing beneath another large chockstone and then ascending some narrow stairs to its end at the Bear Gulch Reservoir.
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.