Bear Gulch Cave Trail
ElevationAscent: 177' 54 m
Descent: -9' -3 m
High: 1,625' 495 m
Low: 1,448' 441 m
GradeAvg Grade: 15% (9°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)
Popular runs nearby
5.1 mi 8.2 km • Out and Back • 1,444 ft Ascent 440.22 m Ascent
Balconies and High Peaks Loop
9.0 mi 14.4 km • Loop • 1,718 ft Ascent 523.76 m Ascent
North Wilderness and Balconies Cave Loop
10.7 mi 17.2 km • Loop • 1,108 ft Ascent 337.58 m Ascent
Balconies Cave Loop
2.6 mi 4.3 km • Loop • 400 ft Ascent 121.84 m Ascent
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“An excellent example of a talus cave with soaring ceilings and tight squeezes.”— QuinTCM TCM
Check for raptor closures before attempting any off-trail running or climbing.
Bring a headlamp!
If the full cave is open, immediately before the exit to Moses Spring Trail, a narrow staircase within the cave leads to another metal gate. Pass through the metal gate and follow the trail through the rest of the cave. This part of the cave is extremely dark and requires crossing over and through the stream that runs through the cave. Look for white arrows on the cave walls that mark the route. Continue following the arrows until the trail eventually emerges into light and again joins the Moses Spring Trail right beneath the stairs heading up to Bear Gulch Reservoir.
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.
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Runner Notes
Land Manager: NPS - Pinnacles National Park