North Wilderness Trail
ElevationAscent: 728' 222 m
Descent: -1,037' -316 m
High: 2,089' 637 m
Low: 1,074' 327 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)
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“An open, exposed, and rarely traveled trail that offers a view into Pinnacles Nat'l Park wilderness.”— QuinTCM TCM
The trailhead is accessed on the west side of the park at the north end of the Chaparral Picnic Area. The trail begins by heading north and running parallel to a usually dry creek bed before turning away from the creek bed and ascending to the highest point along a ridgeline. After gaining this point, the trail descends along the ridgeline and eventually meets the North Fork of Chalone Creek, where it turns east. From here, the trail runs parallel to and often crosses over the usually dry creek bed as it continues eastward, making a slow and gradual turn to the south. The trail ends where it meets Old Pinnacles Trail.
Though the creek bed is typically dry, there may be water in the creek following rain storms and during more rainy parts of the year.
This trail does not offer the same stunning views of the rock formations that give Pinnacles National Park its name. However, this trail is an excellent way to get away from the crowds and experience the wilderness of Pinnacles National Park and the Gabilan Mountains.
This trail is open and exposed. Bring lots of water!
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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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know
Land Manager: NPS - Pinnacles National Park