Old Pinnacles Trail to Balconies Cave

Soledad, California

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This is the easiest route to the Balconies Cave from the park’s east side, as it is a mostly level trail with a moderate climb on the return lollipop along Balconies Cliff. The trail begins in the open, paralleling the wide Chalone Creek before veering into a shadier corridor with multiple seasonal West Fork Chalone Creek crossings. The short but dramatic passage through the talus cave requires a flashlight, careful footwork, and some limberness. The trailhead is in the Old Pinnacles Trail parking lot at the end of the road. From here the gravel and coarse sand trail follows the wide and seasonal Chalone Creek on the left. The trail veers right toward the Balconies Cave at the junction for High Peaks Trail and Bench Trail going left. Just ahead on the left side of the trail is an information panel about the Chalone Creek restoration.
Best Easy Day Hikes Pinnacles National Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Easy Day Hikes Pinnacles National Park

by Linda B. Mullally and David S. Mullally (Falcon Guides)

This is the easiest route to the Balconies Cave from the park’s east side, as it is a mostly level trail with a moderate climb on the return lollipop along Balconies Cliff. The trail begins in the open, paralleling the wide Chalone Creek before veering into a shadier corridor with multiple seasonal West Fork Chalone Creek crossings. The short but dramatic passage through the talus cave requires a flashlight, careful footwork, and some limberness.

The trailhead is in the Old Pinnacles Trail parking lot at the end of the road. From here the gravel and coarse sand trail follows the wide and seasonal Chalone Creek on the left. The trail veers right toward the Balconies Cave at the junction for High Peaks Trail and Bench Trail going left. Just ahead on the left side of the trail is an information panel about the Chalone Creek restoration.

© 2016 Linda B. Mullally and David S. Mullally/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Soledad
Distance: 5.2
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 1,059 feet
Top Elevation: 1,470 feet
Local Maps: USGS North Chalone Peak; Pinnacles National Park map; Tom Harrison map of Pinnacles National Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Old Pinnacles Trail to Balconies Cave

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Apr 2018