Hike the Old Pinnacle Trail in Pinnacles National Park

Old Pinnacles Trailhead, Paicines, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    9 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2000 Feet

Easy Parking

Pinnacles National Park was formed millions of years ago by volcanoes creating a unique and inspiring environment. Pinnacles is 10.1 miles from Soledad California and is 45 miles from San Benito County California. If you have a full day to hike, I strongly suggest adventuring around this astonishing park.

Start at the Old Pinnacles Trailhead and embark on a roughly 9 mile long adventure surrounded by amazing geological rock formations and natural landscapes. Bask in the peace of nature... meander through meadows alongside the West Fork of Chalone Creek and into Old Pinnacles. 

Continuing on at the next junction-hang left and trek on to the Balconies Cave Trail. Adventure through the Balconies Cave and climb into the awe inspiring cavern and proceed along a slot canyon. Outside the cave, appreciate the astounding rock formations known as the Balconies. Walk through meadows towards the Chaparral Parking lot. Once here restrooms are available if needed.  

Once back on the trail ascension into the Spires of the High Peaks Trail via the Juniper Canyon Trail will begin. Don't forget to admire the views from multiple points! Hang left towards Tunnel Trail and continue to clamber up into the peaks. Hike through awe inspiring rock spires heading back down to the Bench Trail. At this point turn left and soon turn right onto the Old Pinnacles trail. Once back on the Old Pinnacles Trail...presently find yourself arriving back at the Old Pinnacles Trailhead-the starting point of today's adventure. 

Pinnacles National Park is a place of mesmerizing beauty and peace and is certainly worth the time and a prolonged visit!  If you are heading home via I-5 North stop in Gustine California at Pea Soup Andersen's to refuel and prepare for the next adventure.

Pack List

  • Map
  • Water
  • Trail Shoes
  • Daypack
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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

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Overall rating: 

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Great day hike, but definitely make sure you know where you're headed, getting lost could be pretty easy. Some minor trash along the trail but we went peak season

10 months ago
10 months ago

Skyler Hardy

I am a avid outdoorsman and adventure seeker driven by a deep passion for nature. I want to help people connect with nature through my photography, poetry, and the stories I tell.

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