“An unmaintained trail along Chalone Creek that offers a glimpse of the Pinnacles Wilderness.”
— QuinTCM TCM
Check for raptor closures before attempting any off-trail running or climbing.
Features: River/Creek — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
The trail begins along a service road near a junction with the Bench Trail
. Continue along the service road for a short distance and look for an obvious trail marked by a sign on the west side of the road. Follow this trail as it moves through a small valley created by Chalone Creek.
The trail, for the most part, remains on the west side of Chalone Creek. The trail crosses the creek bed at a couple points, with at least one portion of the trail in the actual creek bed. These crossings are typically dry though there may be times when there is water at these points. The trail ends at a pig fence that runs west to east across the creek bed. A sign is attached to the fence indicating the end of the trail.
As this is an unmaintained trail, there are points where the trail is not so obvious, especially when the trail enters the creek bed. Rock cairns typically mark the path.
Additionally, as the grasses and other plants are often taller along unmaintained trails, check for ticks after running this trail. Ticks love the unmaintained Pinnacles National Park trails.
Flora & Fauna
Pinnacles National Park 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 National Park 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.
Listen for the croaks of frogs coming from the creek.