Bear Gulch Cave and Reservoir Hike in Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is most known for its, of course, pinnacles, but the parks also offer much more than just spiral rock formations. Caves are also another feature that most visitors come to this California’s newest park for. Since the inception of Pinnacles, California is now crowned for the state with the most number of national parks in the country, surpassing its former tie, Alaska.

On this short and adventurous hike, you will get to see the best of what Pinnacles National Park has to offer. From Bear Gulch parking area, you will embark on a 2 miles round trip journey through Bear Gulch Cave, open time and section vary because of the bat colony (check cave status) and the park’s largest reservoir, Bear Gulch Reservoir.

the bear gulch reservoir


  • Pinnacles National Park is located south of the Bay Area, California.
  • From the main East Park entrance, continue on the road and turn onto Bear Gulch road. Drive pass the day use area to a smaller parking area (end of the road). The trail is obviously to the left of the parking area.
  • Hike is around 2 miles round trip; take Moses Spring trail and continue to the parking area via Rim Trail.
  • Elevation gain is minimal but if you plan on entering the cave, there are sections that require the use of hands to get through narrow sections. It is very easy, though, and most of the hike is actually on paved trail.

the hike

From the parking area, get on the moses spring trail and stay on the trail for approximately 0.5 mile to the entrance of the cave. You may choose to not take the cave (or you have to when it’s closed). If you take the cave route, I highly recommend going through the upper section as well, again depending on the cave status. When you exit the cave, you will see a huge boulder hanging between two walls (pretty cool). Take the long flight of stairs up to the reservoir, take a break, enough the view of amazing pinnacles, and then get on the Rim trail to head back to the parking lot.



Pinnacles at the beginning of the hike
entering the cave
stairs take you to the upper section of the cave
giant boulder between two walls hanging above stairs that take you up to the reservoir.




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