Hike the Juniper Canyon, High Peaks, Tunnel Trail Loop in Pinnacles NP

Chaparral Trailhead Parking

Enjoy some of the best views the 59th national park has to offer from this lollipop loop. 

Pinnacles National Park is located just over two hours outside of San Francisco (depending on the traffic). It was designated the 59th national park in 2013 and while it is small it offers beautiful views and unique wildlife viewing. Keep an eye out for California condors on this hike! 

This trail is accessed from the west entrance of the park. Once you pay your entrance fee you will drive a few miles down the park road to its end at the Chaparral Trailhead parking lot to begin your adventure. From the trailhead you will immediately head right at the fork towards the Juniper Canyon trail. 

The first mile of the trail gently winds through the forest, offering your first up-close views of the towering spires that Pinnacles is named after. At 1.2 miles you will reach a trail junction. From this junction you can take either trail because they are both a part of this loop, but I recommend heading right to continue along the Juniper Canyon Trail. The trail continues to climb via switchbacks until finally you find yourself at an overlook that offers unobstructed views of the park in nearly every direction. This is a great spot to watch for condors! 

After you have enjoyed the views from the overlook you will follow the sign that designates the High Peaks "Steep and Narrow" section. This portion of the trail is where the real fun begins! The trail snakes its way up and around the jagged pinnacles in a daring fashion: handrails and minuscule steps are put into place to help guide you up and down steep rocks faces. 

After 0.7 miles on the High Peaks "Steep and Narrow" you will reach another trail junction. This time you will take a left and follow the Tunnel Trail. At this point you will begin your descent. Once you reach the Tunnel-Juniper Canyon junction for a second time you will take a right to head towards the trailhead. You will be retracing your steps but heading down gives you a different perspective than you enjoyed on the way up.  

Pack List

  • Water and snacks
  • Camera
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • $15 for the park entrance fee (valid for 7 days)
Show More
RT Distance 4.3 Miles
Elevation Gain 1200 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Great Loop, Family Friendly

Great time hiking the Juniper trail. The loop around the peaks and through the rocks (tunnel) was absolutely wonderful!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Explore Pinnacles National Park

809 Saves

Hike the Bear Gulch-High Peaks Loop in Pinnacles National Park

22 Saves

Hike to Bear Gulch Reservoir in Pinnacles National Park

154 Saves