From the issue Tackle the Pinnacles
View from the Balconies
Expand your Pinnacles horizon with a hearty 8.5-mile round-trip trek from one side of the park to the other. Starting from the Old Pinnacles trailhead you'll bisect the High Peaks and descend to the western entrance before making your way back on the less-explored Balconies. Start with the hard part first: climbing up the High Peaks Trail. During spring, Pinnacles is a loping canvas of 100 types of wildflowers. Purple shooting stars and raspberry Indian warriors light up the trails along with white-and-fuzzy buck brush and popping baby blue-eyes. Reach the High Peaks and scan the sky for California Condors. Descend the Tunnel Trail to Juniper Canyon and the more-remote western entrance of the park where you're greeted with a bustling creek and grasslands shimmering in the breeze. Pick up the Balconies Trail for a few minutes before veering onto the Balconies Cliffs Trail. This less-used trail has amazing views of towering Machete Ridge, and is a good place to stop for lunch. The final part of the trail is an easy 2.3 miles along Chalone Creek.