“An excellent example of a talus cave that requires scrambling and climbing to get through.”
— QuinTCM TCM
Check for raptor closures before attempting any off-trail running or climbing.
Bring a headlamp or flashlight!
Features: Cave — River/Creek
Dogs: No Dogs
If entering from the Balconies Trail
, begin this trail by climbing over a large rock formation next to Machete Ridge, which sits to the east, and beneath another rock formation called Chockstone Dome.
Continue through a metal gate and pass beneath a series of smaller chockstones inside of a gravel filled cleft. From here, continue climbing and scrambling through the cave, using your flashlight or headlamp to reveal the path.
Eventually, the cave opens up near another metal gate. Pass through the metal gate and follow the small stream by scrambling over some more rocks till the trail opens up a bit before coming to a junction with Old Pinnacles Trail
and the Balconies Cliffs Trails
This trail requires some small stream crossings in parts.
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.