In Pinnacle Peaks, the playable characters are stuck running down the level's road and can only move left and right between the road's four lanes (akin to the Quick Step). While running, the player can pick up powerups from Item Boxes and utilize the gimmicks native to this track.
Pinnacle Peaks has many environmental obstacles which the player can either jump over, roll under or move around. Running into one of these obstacles will result in the player taking damage and lose some of their Rings. Falling into bottomless pits on the other hand forces the player to restart from an earlier point on the track.
The racers follow a long slope downwards and round gentle bends leading to Triple Dash Pads. From there, they have to avoid simple obstacles on the path ahead, with Egg Pawns and Item Boxes also in their reach. The track soon diverges into three separate paths. The bottom two lead to a Grind Rail section that leave Item Boxes available, with spikes and Buzz Bombers as obstructions. The top path contains only a small Grind Rail section before the track comes together again. The races will then navigate their way round bends and three sections of Grind Rails. These lead to another set of Triple Dash Pads. After this, racers are led through a shuttle loop and then onto another Grind Rail section. Finally, the racers will navigate their way down a straight path towards the finish line facing the remaining obstacles on the track.