The Bear Gulch Caves are a fun side jaunt on a day exploring the popular Bear Gulch area of Pinnacles National Park, which is also home to popular climbing areas such as Tourist Trap, Discovery Wall, The Monolith, as well as the scenic Bear Gulch Reservoir. The caves are most directly accessed via the Moses Spring Trail, a beautiful walk through the heart of Bear Gulch. Exploring the caves does not require any special equipment other than a headlamp or flashlight.
The Bear Gulch Caves are home to the largest colony of Townsend's big-eared bats between San Francisco and Mexico. The bats, which feed heavily on moths but may also pursue other small insects, are listed as a "sensitive species" by the state of California. Their mating season occurs in the fall, followed by rest in the winter and the rearing of young in the spring and early summer. A gate has been installed in the caves by the National Park Service to close off certain portions of this critical habitat at certain times of the year. Closures may be looked up before traveling to Pinnacles by checking the park's website. Be sure to follow proper cave visitation etiquette to prevent the spread of white nose syndrome into Pinnacles National Park.