This easy, moderately level hiking trail leads to oddly shaped volcanic rocks that are said to resemble ‘gargoyles.’ The bands of rocks around the rim of the canyon that contain the gargoyle-like formations were originally formed by several volcanic events, including lava flows, lahars (volcanic mud flows), and ash deposits. The route also offers spectacular mountain views, and an abundance of wildflowers in early to mid-summer. Wildflower species that may be seen include mule’s ears, paintbrush, penny royal, lupines, Marisa lilies, phlox, and many more. A brochure describing the natural features in more detail at numbered posts along the trail may be picked up at the trailhead or at the Summit Ranger Station along Highway 108 near Pinecrest.
Directions: Take Highway 108 east of Pinecrest for about 3 miles to Herring Creek Road. Turn right and drive about 6 miles. Turn left at the Gargoyles sign to park and reach the trailhead.