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blueBlack High Peaks

  4.7 ( 29 ) Favorite

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Trail

5.1 mile 8.2 kilometer out and back
Singletrack
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,444' 440 m
Descent: -1,447' -441 m
High: 2,557' 779 m
Low: 1,281' 390 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 54% (28°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Steve Jackson

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Hike to rocky peaks and see a California Condor.

Steve Jackson

Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Kids will love the ability to scramble on boulders and through the tight-squeezes between them.

Overview

This is a nice hike up to the peaks area with beautiful views and a chance to see the California Condor.

Need to Know

Bring plenty of water. It can be very hot and dry.

Description

This hike goes to the high peaks area and to the namesake of the park, the pinnacles. At the top is a narrow and steep part of the trail. My grandson loved this part. On our hike we were able to see a few California Condors, some perched on the rocks and very close to the trail. Makes sure to look in all directions while hiking. That's how we saw one that would have been missed had we kept looking forward.

The trailhead is accessed from the Bear Gulch Day Use Area across the parking lot from the nature center. A sign marks the beginning of the trail. The trail is open and airy and continually ascends along the edge of Condor Gulch to the west. Follow the well marked path and look for rock formations like The Hippopotamus, Nebulous Knob, Popcorn Pinnacle, and The Three Birds. About half-way along the trail there is an overlook protected by some metal railings. This is a good place to soak in some views of Condor Gulch and perhaps catch a glimpse of some condors. The rock wall to the west of the overlook is called Dutch Goose Wall. Continuing east, the trail ascends before turning north passed Casino Rock, Doodlin' Dody, The Peanuts, The Toes, Dionysian Tower, and Jamcrack Rock. The trail ends where it meets the High Peaks Trail.

Take a left onto the High Peaks Trail - this trail moves past chaparral-covered hillsides and lichen covered rock formations. Keep an eye open for the many obvious rock formations such as the Carousel and the Anvil. The most recognizable of the pinnacles to the northeast are Pipsqueak Pinnacle and The Snout. In the gulch to the southwest, look for a pinnacle called The Unmentionable, named thus for obvious reasons. The views along this trail feature many varied and interesting pinnacles.

Eventually, you'll loop back to Bear Gulch Trail. This trail gradually descends back to the Bear Gulch parking lot. While not quite as spectacular as the High Peaks Trail, there are still several interesting rock formations along the way.

Flora & Fauna

Condors and turkey vultures.

Contacts

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Check-Ins

Aug 8, 2019
JANET O'MARA
Jun 15, 2019
David Hitchcock
Cloudy drive in, but the trail was good and relatively cool for this time of year. Saw a juvenile condor around 10:15 in Condor Gulch 5.1mi
May 25, 2019
Lana S
May 4, 2019
Ethan Henry
Beautiful day, warm but not too hot. The top part of the trail has some very steep rock scrambles with handhold rails. 5mi
Apr 28, 2019
Caitlin M
Did loop, lots of flowers, warm but had nice breeze 6mi — 3h 30m
Feb 23, 2019
Marcin Bielinski
Jan 31, 2019
Kory Gressett
Dec 29, 2018
Marisa Fujinaka
We were lucky to see four condors at the high peaks. Fun place to climb and boulder. Recommend taking the bear gulch cave trail. 5.8mi

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 29 votes

#196

Overall
  4.7 from 29 votes
5 Star
76%
4 Star
21%
3 Star
3%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#29

in California

#196

Overall
65 Views Last Month
2,848 Since Jan 14, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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