Hike to Bear Gulch Reservoir in Pinnacles National Park

Bear Gulch Parking Lot, Paicines, California, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Running, Yoga, Hiking, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    1.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    275 Feet

Easy Parking

Pinnacles National Park is home to caves, rock spires, and a small relaxing reservoir. Hike a small distance to Bear Gulch Reservoir and in the process enjoy hiking through Bear Gulch Cave!

Start the hike from the Bear Gulch Trail Parking lot.  While pulling in, the trail head is on the left.  The Trail is marked Reservoir, Caves, and High Peaks.  Continue down the trail until faced with a junction.  Make sure to admire rock formations while hiking!

At the junction take the Bear Gulch Cave Trail.  Make sure to have a flashlight or headlamp.  Bear Gulch Cave can be pretty dark in places.  If you are a rock climber there are multiple spots for climbing access throughout the trail outside the cave.  Once out of the cave the trail descends quickly to the reservoir.

Bear Gulch Reservoir can get pretty crowded during the day.  Take the time to relax and wait for the sunset.  Most people tend to start hiking back out before it starts to get dark.  Adventure around the reservoir...let the beauteous rock formations that carve out the landscape incentivize the inner artist. 

Swimming is not allowed in Bear Gulch Reservoir.  Once the crowds have died down...make sure to pause and listen for a minute, take in nature's peace.  It is possible to see The California Red Legged Frog and the Pacific Tree Frog.  Pinnacles National Park is also well known for its California Condors. Pinnacles is a release sight for these magnificent creatures!  

Pack List

  • Water
  • Hiking shoes
  • Backpack
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera (If desired)
  • Flashlight/Headlamp
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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Overall rating: 

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For how short this hike is, it's pretty rewarding. Hiking through the cave is a neat, unique aspect to this hike. Make sure to bring a headlamp or flashlight! The reservoir has some great rock climbing and beautiful views. Tip: go just before sunset to beat the crowds and watch the golden hour light dance on the rocks.

7 months ago
7 months ago

This trail is not long at all. It's beautiful and you go through caves depending on the season and bats. It's easy enough to take your family or for a quick hike fix.

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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