"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pinnacles National Park- Old Pinnacles Trail to Balconies Cave Loop

We would have started our hike earlier but had to drive a couple of miles out of the park and sit along the roadside to get a Verizon signal to make phone calls for my job. A deputy stopped by when she saw us sitting in the pullout and asked if we needed help. We told her no just a Verizon signal. She chuckled. We were on the trail shortly after 9:00 am.

The wild flowers along Chalone Creek.

A couple that we met earlier asked us about the trail we were coming down and then told us about this trail. The first 1.5 miles were rolling along the creek before a little bit of a climb.

There are many different ways to get out and camp. A lady next to us who is in her 70s slept in her SUV in a sleeping bag, had her stove and everything she needed. She would read and look for birds or stay up at night looking at the stars. She seemed very happy.  Nothing is going to stop her.

 The temps in the cave felt so good since this was a pretty hot day for a 5.5 mile hike. Fortunately, there was quite a bit of shade along the creek. 

We didn't have to crawl through the Balcony Caves but had to scramble up the walls.

Longer legs would be handy about now.

There are bats in this cave.

Our flashlight was the only way to see the waterfall behind the rocks.  It was difficult to hold the flashlight and use our hands to pull up at the same time so we would take turns climbing while the other person shined their light.

Yep, we walked under these bad boys and didn't have to bend over.

That was our trail down there.

Balconies Cliffs Trail across from Machete Ridge

Grey pinecone.

At the end of the day, we were watching the turkey vultures circling and then the lens people came out. You know, the people with the big binoculars and cameras. They seemed to know something I didn't. We went to investigate and they showed us the Condors soaring with the vultures and explained the difference. We listened to the regular turkeys making noise as the sun went down.
A darn good day.


  1. Another great hike in Pinnacles! We did part of the hike and turned back because we ran out of time (we were leaving that day). Thanks for showing us the rest of it -- it's definitely one we want to return to! And how cool that you saw the Condors! We were hoping to, but only saw vultures. A good day, indeed. :-)

    1. It would have been fun to spend more time but we were fortunate to get the days we did there.