Trail Run Project Logo

Juniper Canyon Trail



1.8 mile 3.0 kilometer point to point
67% Runnable


Ascent: 1,138' 347 m
Descent: -56' -17 m
High: 2,468' 752 m
Low: 1,386' 422 m


Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by QuinTCM TCM

A winding, steep trail through Juniper Canyon with views of many pinnacles.


Features Birding · Views · Wildflowers

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


The Juniper Canyon Trail trailhead is accessed from the Balconies Trail near the parking lot at the Chaparral Picnic Area on the west side of the park. However, this trail can also be accessed by a couple connector trails that connect the west side parking lot directly to it.

This trail heads south towards the high peaks region of the park and is the only means of accessing the high peaks from the west side. The trail begins by gradually ascending up Juniper Canyon, which is filled with chaparral and several species of trees. Rock formations like Crumbling Castle, Goat Rock, and Resurrection Wall are easily seen from this part of the trail. Below Resurrection Wall, however, the trail enters a series of steep switchbacks. Rock formations like Palisade Pinnacle, Monument, and Tombstone can all be seen along this part of the trail. Nearing the top of this first section of switchbacks, the trail junctions with the Tunnel Trail heading north.

Passing the Tunnel Trail, the Juniper Canyon Trail continues south passed Chaos Crag through some more switchbacks before straightening out. Continue ascending passed rock formations like Trafalgar Tower, Pyramid Pinnacle, and The Cone. Near the end of the trail, enter another series of switchbacks before topping out at the junction with the High Peaks Trail. A small bathroom is located at the top. Scout Peak (2605ft, 794m) can be accessed from this location.

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.

Wild flowers 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.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Runner Notes

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.


Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In



Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 6 votes


  4.5 from 6 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in California


18 Views Last Month
1,770 Since Apr 10, 2015



The view of the Pinnacles from the western side of the park (as seen near the junction between Juniper Canyon Trail and the High Peaks) proved one of our favorites.
Aug 9, 2018 near Soledad, CA
California Condor hanging out on the high peaks trail.
Feb 24, 2016 near Soledad, CA
Pinnacles National Monument
May 26, 2015 near Soledad, CA
Looking towards Machete Ridge from the Balconies Trail.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA
The Balconies Trail is stunning.
May 26, 2015 near Soledad, CA
The trail as it crosses a small creek going up Juniper Canyon Trail.  Notice that this area has more trees and moisture than the trails thanks to the creeks that run through the area.
Feb 24, 2016 near Soledad, CA


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running