Pinnacles National Monument: High Peaks Loop

See the result of millions of years of tectonic movement on this 7.9-mile loop beneath massive volcanic monoliths. Bring a flashlight for optional cave trails.

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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 12.7



Location: 36.4855766296387, -121.200973510742

Bear R @ Y; follow blazes for Juniper Canyon Trail as switchbacks steepen. Note The Fingers to W, Scout Peak to S


Location: 36.4814987182617, -121.199279785156

View of Salinas Valley @ 5-way junction; L up High Peaks Trail


Location: 36.4845504760742, -121.198348999023

Trail gets vertical; hold onto metal railings and ascend tiny rock steps


Location: 36.4881172180176, -121.198516845703

Bear R @ Y and follow signs for High Peaks Trail


Location: 36.4898681640625, -121.191436767578

Bear L @ Y toward Chalone ranger station; trail flattens, then descends


Location: 36.4906349182129, -121.172164916992

L @ 3-way onto Old Pinnacles Trail along creek bed; cross bridges


Location: 36.5015182495117, -121.181083679199

L @ Y, follow signs for Old Pinnacles Trail; watch for rattlers. Terraces along Chalone Creek mark “creeping” fault line once part of the San Andreas Fault


Location: 36.5024681091309, -121.199447631836

R @ 3-way onto Balconies Cliffs Trail; switchbacks head up toward giant breccia rock face. Deep, narrow gorges and toppled boulders create talus caves


Location: 36.497917175293, -121.203384399414

R @ 3-way onto Balconies Trail; cross bridge immediately, bear R @ Y. Machete Ridge to E. Spur: L @ 3-way onto Balconies Caves Trail; use light in cave


Location: 36.4952507019043, -121.204948425293

Bear R @ Y, follow signs for Balconies Trail; L @ Y that follows


Location: 36.4911994934082, -121.208450317383

L @ Y onto rock path; R @ 3-way back to Juniper Canyon trailhead