North Chalone Peak is the highest peak at the Pinnacles National Monument at 3306' due to volcanic activity long ago.
The trail doesn't seem to be very well used but it is very well maintained trail. There weren't even any growth on the trail at all. In some places it appears that they lais out gravel for your path. The paths are gently sloping (except for the last 3/4 a mile or so), with views around every corner.
The views from the summit are expansive. You can see for miles around, up and down the Salinas Valley include wide expanses of grape Vines. You can see the back of the Big Sur range and the range before you reach the Fresno Valley. I bet on a clearer day than the one I visited, you could see as far as Diablo and possibly the Sierras.
The trail is average difficulty in most places, but slightly steep in others. It's about 4.5 miles in distance from the parking area to the summit using the shortest route (which we climbed). See other routes section for other ideas on a route up.
In order to reach the back side of the Pinnacles National Monument, take route 25 south from Hollister about 34 miles. Here you enter the park. Follow the signs to the Bear Gultch Visitor's center to reach the trailhead.
When To Climb
Climb during any season, however the summer will add the dissiculty of heat. We hiked this trail mid November and it was perfect.
No permits are required. There is a $5.00 day use fee collected at the entrance. If you have a Golden Eagle Pass this fee is waived.
There is no overnight parking/camping in the Monument, however there is a private campground at the base, just outside the park.
If you'd like to make a very difficult day of the whole park and include the hike to this peak, you could begin on the west side at the Chaparral Parking area, and hike the Juniper Canyon Trail to the High Peaks Trail to the Rim Trail to the Chalone Peak trail. The distance one way on that route will be closer to 7 miles one way.
You could also take a longer route and visit all three Visitor's/Picnic areas by beginning at the Chaparral and take th Balconies trail to the Old Pinnacles trail to the Bench Trail. Then connect to the Bear Gultch Trail to the Miss Spring Trail and to the Chalone Peak Trail. This route will take 9.4 miles to summit the peak. and if you return on the route mentioned above, you will hike approximately 16.4 miles in total.