North Wilderness Trail

Pinnacles National Park, California

Distance6.5mi
Elevation Gain3,797ft
Trailhead Elevation1,392ft
Top2,092ft
Elevation Min/Max1083/2092ft
Elevation Start/End1392/1392ft

North Wilderness Trail

North Wilderness Trail is a hiking trail in San Benito County, California. It is within Pinnacles National Park and Hain Wilderness. It is 6.5 miles long and begins at 1,392 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 13.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,797 feet. The trail ends near the Chaparral Picnic Area camp site. There are also a picnic site and an information guidepost near the end of the trail. This trail connects with the following: Balconies Caves Trail and Old Pinnacles Trail.

North Wilderness Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

100 Hikes in California's Central Sierra & Coast Range (The Mountaineers Books)
Vicky Spring & Tom Kirkendall
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"The trail along the north boundary of Pinnacles National Monument offers a chance to get away from the crowds and explore the chaparral ecosystem. This is a wilderness trek that wanders along creek bottoms richly covered with grasses, gray foothill pines, junipers, and oaks, then climbs to an impenetrable mixture of chamise, buckbrush, and an occasional manzanita on the ridge crest. In the early spring, wildflowers cover the valley floor and ridges with colorful carpets of yellow, white, and blue. The North Wilderness Trail has been designated as unmaintained, which means trailheads are not signed, sections of the trail are steep, and maintenance is limited. Hikers must be prepared to crawl over fallen trees and wade shallow creeks. However, when equipped with a map, compass, plenty of water, and a flashlight for the caves, you can hike this trail with little difficulty. (Note: In the summer, carry a minimum of two quarts of water per person and start early to avoid the heat.)" Read more
Best Easy Day Hikes Pinnacles National Park (Falcon Guides)
Linda B. Mullally and David S. Mullally
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"This is a lovely hike away from the weekend crowds. Hikers get a taste of the Pinnacles wilderness area, crossing a meadow and walking through rolling chaparral with two knoll viewpoints looking back at the west face of the Pinnacles and the North Chalone Peak fire tower. This hike is a nice contrast to caves, tunnels, and steep trails into volcanic high peaks where you are hiking in the postcard. The trailhead at the far end of the Chaparral Picnic Area takes you away from the weekend fray and opens the portal to a more serene scene across a meadow, rewarded with a colorful spring bloom of wildflowers following a wet winter and plum-colored buckwheat bushes in the drier months." Read more
Hiking Pinnacles National Park (Falcon Guides)
David Mullally and Linda Mullally
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"This is not one of Pinnacles National Park’s most panoramic hikes. Except for a couple of very scenic viewpoints before dropping down into the swales of the undulating chaparral ridges, the trail follows the wide creekbed of the seasonal North Fork Chalone Creek for about 8 of the nearly 10 miles. The changes in elevation are minimal and gradual except for the 0.5 mile climb up the Balconies Cliffs Trail. This hike is a perfect option for hikers seeking a quiet, less traveled route. This route through the park’s less known wilderness area formerly known as Pinnacles Wilderness and recently renamed (and as yet unsigned) Hain Wilderness is an example of the variety of habitats within the park. This loop hike lets you experience a more primitive wilderness beauty and the stark contrast between the creekbed woodlands and the dramatic geology along the Balconies Cliffs Trail." Read more
Hiking Pinnacles National Park (Falcon Guides)
David Mullally and Linda Mullally
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"This is a lovely hike away from the weekend crowds. Hikers get a taste of the Pinnacles wilderness area, crossing a meadow and walking through rolling chaparral with two knoll viewpoints looking back at the west face of the Pinnacles and the North Chalone Peak fire tower." Read more

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Trail Information

Pinnacles National Park
Nearby City
Pinnacles National Park
Parks
Pinnacles National Monument
Local Contacts
USGS North Chalone Peak and Bickmore Canyon; Pinnacles National Park map; Tom Harrison map of Pinnacles National Park
Local Maps