Hike to Bear Gulch Reservoir in Pinnacles National Park

Bear Gulch Parking Lot

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
Show More
RT Distance 1.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 275 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Running, Yoga, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Rewarding Short Hike

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.

Perfect For Beginners

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.


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

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

18 Saves

Explore Pinnacles National Park

807 Saves

Hike the Old Pinnacle Trail in Pinnacles National Park

114 Saves