An easy, short path from a nature center up to an overlook point with a great view of the Pinnacles Formation. An easy way to see some of the sights in the park, with the option to connect to the High Peaks Trail loop and continue your journey.
I’ll admit — I wasn’t planning on hiking this trail. When I woke up at the Pinnacles Campsite, I had originally intended to just explore the Bear Gulch caves and head on out, but when I saw the incredible inversion layer that was hanging over the park in the morning, I knew I had to try to get some good photos of it interacting with the landscape.
And so, I ventured out from the Bear Gulch ranger station on this short and sweet trail to an overlook near the High Peaks.
The trail itself is a simple single-track that parallels a service road, then climbs up the canyon walls and onto the Pinnacles themselves. It’s really not a destination hike, per se, unless you’ve got interesting weather conditions like I did.
This trail does, however, offer an alternative route to building your own loop trail. 0.7 miles past the overlook, the Condor Gulch Trail meets up with the High Peaks Trail. From there, it’s possible to loop along the more southern routes, back through Bear Gulch and to the trailhead.
But if all you’re doing is checking out the view, this is the hike to take.
Excellent. Well-maintained and well-traveled trail that begins just outside a popular nature center in the park.
Pinnacles Campground is inside the park, and features a general store and swimming pool.
From the park's East Entrance, travel past the Visitor's Center and campground and take a left onto the road heading to Bear Gulch. There is a small nature center with a parking lot and bathrooms about a mile from the intersection. Park here, and look for the Condor Gulch Trail, just across a small service road from the bathrooms.
With recent wildfire damage and ongoing waves of COVID-19 infections and restrictions, National Forest, National Park, and other public land closures, restrictions, or social distancing guidelines may be in-effect.
If infection rates are on the rise, please do your best to remain local for your hikes. If you do travel, please be mindful of small gateway communities and avoid as much interaction as you can. Also remember to be extra prepared with supplies so you don't have to stop somewhere outside your local community for gas, food, or anything else.
Please be sure to contact the local land management agency BEFORE you head out, as these conditions are likely to change without enough notice for us to fully stay on top of them. Thanks, and stay safe!
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