Condor Gulch Trail
September 26, 2018
- Condor Gulch Trail, Pinnacles National Park
- Landscape: chaparral, sandy gravel, volcanic rock spires
- Trailhead elevation: 1000 ft
- Elevation gain: 1500 ft
- Distance: 4.5 mi o/b
- Difficulty: 3/5
The rock spires that give the park its name
A steady climb along the eastern slope of Condor Gulch brings you to a ridge that rewards you with decent views of the eroded standing rocks that make up the park. From there, you have the option to return down Condor Gulch for an out-and-back, take High Peaks trail west along the ridge for a loop route, or branch off to some of the other trails from High Peaks and explore the high peaks region deeper.
Temperatures easily exceed 100°F (40°C) in the summer and there are no water sources along the trail, so packing sufficient water is imperative. A standard greeting to passing hikers is "do you have enough water?"
As the trail name suggests, there's prime viewing for soaring raptors, although actual condors remain elusive.
A national park pass is required and there is limited parking at the Bear Gulch Day Use Area. In the busy months, Bear Gulch will fill up around 11:00 AM and the park will run a free shuttle service from the main visitor center, where there is more parking. Camp at the Pinnacles Campground to get an early start that avoids the crowds and the worst of the heat.