Condor gulch overlook
Pinnacles national park, CA
condor gulch overlook
Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 550 feet
Seasonality: Open year round. The park can get to temperatures of 100 degrees and hotter in the summer.
Trailhead: Clearly marked trailhead near the Bear Gulch Day Use Area and the Bear Gulch Nature Center.
Parking: There are three areas where you can park on the East side of the park, but if you arrive after 10 a.m. you will most likely be parking at the Pinnacles Visitor Center near the entrance and taking a shuttle to the day use areas. If you’re lucky, you may be able to park at the Bear Gulch Day Use area, or in the overflow parking two tenths of a mile west.
Facilities: Flush toilets and potable water are available at the Pinnacles Visitor Center, Bear Gulch Day Use area, and the overflow parking lot.
Difficulty: Moderate due to exposure and elevation gain.
The Condor Gulch Trail to the Overlook is the first part of a longer trail that ends by joining with the High Peaks Trail connecting the East half of the park to the West half. By hiking to the Overlook, you are completing about 75% of the full Condor Gulch Trail. The trail offers fantastic views of the condors that circle above the rising pinnacles so be sure to bring your binoculars. The trail is very exposed, so make sure you have sun protection and water.
Trip Planner Details:
Please note that you are driving to the East Pinnacles Park Entrance, not the West Pinnacles Park Entrance. The entrances do not connect to each other.
Unlike the drive to the West side of the park, the drive to the East Entrance is scenic and peaceful. After you pass through Hollister, there are a few small localities that you will pass if you need food or gas.
Once you arrive at the park, the visitor center offers a selection of snacks and water along with flush toilet facilities.
There is a park entrance fee of $25 to enter Pinnacles National Park. For more information about what else you can do in the park, visit the Pinnacles National Park website.
When You Do Your Research:
Remember that this trail description takes you only to the Condor Gulch Overlook and not the full trail. You will continue to gain elevation if you hike the whole Condor Gulch trail. This description also has you start at the Bear Gulch Day Use Area, and some other reviews may include the hike to the day use area as part of the journey if they weren’t able to park in the day use area or take a shuttle from the Visitor’s Center. This will add significant mileage to the trip.
Tips From One Who Hiked It:
Make sure you have sun protection, water, and a pair of binoculars. This hike may be more scenic if you start early in the day and go during the spring when wildflowers are blooming. It’s a nice hike, but there are other hikes in the park that will provide more of an experience.