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Balconies Cave Trail

Intermediate

Trail

0.4 mile 0.6 kilometer point to point
84% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 31' 10 m
Descent: -128' -39 m
High: 1,318' 402 m
Low: 1,199' 365 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by QuinTCM TCM

An excellent example of a talus cave that requires scrambling and climbing to get through.

QuinTCM TCM

Features Cave · River/Creek

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

Bring a headlamp or flashlight!

Description

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.

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Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 6 votes

#771

Overall
  4.8 from 6 votes
5 Star
83%
4 Star
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Trail Rankings

#114

in California

#771

Overall
10 Views Last Month
452 Since Apr 13, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

Looking down into the cave.   It's a tight squeeze, but it's worth exploring.  Make sure you have a flashlight as there are areas where there is no light.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA
Rocks that have to be climbed over in the cave.  You can notice the creek running through the cave.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA
Getting ready to go through the Balconies cave.
Feb 27, 2016 near Soledad, CA
Tight spaces through the Balconies Cave - flashlight required! We hiked the Balconies Cave Loop trail on September 11, 2017. Very nice!
Aug 27, 2019 near Soledad, CA

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