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Pets allowed
No
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
2.20 mi (3.54 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

Located directly on the San Andreas fault line, Pinnacles National Park was once part of a volcano that has been ripped in half and moved 150 miles from it's original location. In 2013 President Barack Obama converted Pinnacles National Monument into a National Park, making it the country's newest addition to our National Park system.

Moses Springs Trail is an easy to moderate hike that starts near the Pinnacles Nature Center. The hike leads through a shady picnic day use area and on to the trail. The hiking trails are well defined with some moderate inclines. About halfway through the hike the trail leads through Bear Gulch Cave, one of two Talus Caves located in the park. Upon entering the cave the temperature drops by as much as 20 degrees, which is a welcome relief from the hot and arid climate above. You'll reach Bear Gulch Reservoir after you leave the cave, and you will have the option to take a much longer trail that encircles the park or one that continues onto Rim Trail and loops back via the Moses Spring Trail.

Rim Trail has a few nice viewpoints that capture some of the iconic pinnacles for which this park was named. There are many signs denoting where the various rock climbing area are. With an abundance of wildlife and over 100 species of flora and fauna, you will find yourself stopping frequently to appreciate the nature around you. The tall peaks of the Pinnacles are ideal for rock climbing, and they are also a preferred release site for the endangered California Condor.

There are two different entrances to this park that do not connect to each other. Camping and day use picnicking are available. A parking lot, restrooms, and swimming pool are located at the visitor center and convenience store, and you will also find a shuttle that will take you the different trailheads. Check out the Nature Center for informational kiosks as well as talks on the history and geology of the area.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Abundant wildlife. Variety of plants. Reasonable driving distance. Great Views.

Cons

Dirty bathrooms.

Trailhead Elevation

1,112.00 ft (338.94 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,224.00 ft (373.08 m)

Address

Airline Hwy
31000
Paicines, CA 95043
United States

Features

Historically significant
Rock climbing
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Cave
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Gabilan + Southern Diablo Mountains, California

Comments

Thanks for sharing this, John. I'm shocked this is on our side of the state. Looks like it could Alabama Hills or the Buttermilks. Guess I'll be taking a detour on my next trip down the 101.
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