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Bench Trail



2.5 mile 4.1 kilometer point to point
100% Runnable


Ascent: 104' 32 m
Descent: -75' -23 m
High: 1,043' 318 m
Low: 967' 295 m


Avg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)


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Trail shared by QuinTCM TCM

An open trail with distant views of pinnacles that connects the campground to the rest of the park.


Features Views · Wildflowers

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


The Bench Trail trailhead is accessed at the end of the road for the group campsites. From the trailhead, take this flat, easy trail southwest to a junction with a dirt road. Continue south on the dirt road. Briefly walk on the dirt road till the trail once again turns southwest (continuing south on the dirt road will lead to the South Wilderness Trail.) Follow the trail as it turns northwest and winds its way along a dry creek bed towards a small parking lot and a location called Peaks View. This is a good place to catch a far-off glimpse of some of the peaks and pinnacles that make up the High Peaks area of the park.

Leaving Peaks View, continue northwest on the trail. Eventually, two small bridges will come into view. Continue on the trail by walking over the dry creek bed on these two bridges to a junction with the Bear Gulch Trail. The Bear Gulch Trail continues southwest while the Bench Trail again turns northwest towards the Old Pinnacles region of the park. Follow the trail northwest as it passes underneath the road and passed the junction for the High Peaks Trail. Crossing over a bridge, the trail ends where it meets Old Pinnacles Trail.

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.

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in California


2 Views Last Month
326 Since Apr 10, 2015



After Spring rains, a little more water flows in the creek.
Feb 24, 2016 near Soledad, CA
A view of the high peaks from Peak View in the early morning.
Feb 20, 2016 near Soledad, CA
A view toward the high peaks from the Bench Trail near Peaks View.
Feb 24, 2016 near Soledad, CA
The South Wilderness Trail starts by following the old fire road, so it's nice and wide to start.
Feb 20, 2016 near Soledad, CA
The junction with the South Wilderness Trail.
Feb 20, 2016 near Soledad, CA
Clouds hug the hills above the trail. The area is green due to it being winter and the rains providing moisture in this dry region.
Feb 20, 2016 near Soledad, CA


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