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Pinnacles

  • Pinnacles

Overview

  • Karla Gadea

Pinnacles National Park is hidden just south of San Jose in the Gabilan Mountains, and is a short drive from the San Francisco Area. Some 23 million years ago multiple volcanoes erupted, flowed, and slid to form what has become Pinnacles National Park. Travelers are able to witness chaparral, oak woodlands, and canyon bottoms. Hikers can enter rare talus caves, that house at least thirteen species of bat and emerge to towering rock spires teeming with life. Within the National Park System lie some of this nation’s most amazing caves. Pinnacles has activities like climbing, hiking, caving, and wildlife viewing.

Pinnacles offers solitude, challenge, and escape from the urban interface of both the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas.

 

Season: Unlike many national parks, Pinnacles is most popular in the cooler months.During the summer, extreme temperatures can make hiking uncomfortable, and possibly dangerous for those who are unprepared. If you plan to visit Pinnacles from late May through early September, please make sure to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. During spring, when the grasses are green and a variety of wildflowers can be seen along any trail, hiking is at its best. Fall and winter are also excellent times to visit.  Winters have moderate rainfall, mild highs and cold lows, summers are extremely dry and have very hot days and very cool nights.

 

Balconies Cave: Grab your headlamp and head to the west side of Pinnacles National Park for a trek into Balconies Cave. This fun 2-mile out and back hike or 2.4-mile lollipop loop hike crosses a playground of volcanic rock formations and journeys through the dark, twisting passages of Balconies Cave. The most direct route to the cave (described here) takes Balconies Trail from Chaparral Trailhead on the west side of the park. Balconies Cave may also be reached from Old Pinnacles Trailhead on the east side of the park by hiking up Old Pinnacles Trail for a 5 or 5.4-mile hike, or as part of the grander High Peaks – Balconies Cave Loop, which passes both trailheads.

 

Bear Gulch Reservoir: The short interesting hike to Bear Gulch Reservoir ascends a beautiful boulder-filled gorge on the east side of Pinnacles National Park (known as Pinnacles National Monument prior to 2013). A split in the trail offers two parallel routes to reach the reservoir. Bear Gulch Cave Trail climbs through a talus cave, while Moses Spring Trail takes a scenic but less daring course along the rim of the gorge. The trails reunite and arrive at Bear Gulch Reservoir, 3/4 of a mile from the start. The Cave Trail closes periodically to accommodate the bats that reside there. When Bear Gulch Cave is open, it should not be missed.
High Peaks – Condor Gulch Loop: The High Peaks of Pinnacles National Park (formerly known as Pinnacles National Monument) are a one of a kind collection of sky-pointed spires that provide fascinating scenery and a robust hiking experience. The adventurous hike across the top of the Pinnacles crosses a steep, narrow, and impressively constructed trail that is a highlight of any visit to the park. The High Peaks can be reached from the east or west entrance (There are no roads traveling across Pinnacles National Park). The heart of the rugged park is only accessible on foot via a well-maintained network of trails.

How long should I stay? 2-3 days

Read More

ACTIVITY:

Hiking, Trails, Picnic, Nature Walks, Caves

Difficulty:

Beginner

SEASON:

Winter, Spring, Fall

How to Get There

Closest International Airport to Pinnacles is the San Jose International Airport, located about 1 hour from this destination. To get there take US-101 south, take exit 353 for CA-25 South, and turn left on CA-25 South.

Vacation Rentals (powered by HomeAway.com)

Beautiful Country Getaway in Paicines CA - 10 minutes from Pinnacles Nat'l Park

Rating: 5/5 (4reviews)

La Casa Rosa features lovely sitting and dining areas, a new kitchen, bathroom and comfortable master bedroom on the first level and a 2nd 'loft style' bedroom downstairs with a gorgeous view of the hills and ranch property. It has a nice backyard...

Price (avg)
$252/night
Bedroom
2
Bathroom
1
Sleeps
3

40 Acres 5,000 Square Ft, $975/nt Sleeps 10-14 Pool, Vineyard, Views !

Rating: 5/5 (45reviews)

Chalone Pinnacles House is a 40 Acre 5,000 Square foot estate surrounded by Chalone Vineyards. This is the location of many famous Chalone stock holder parties. 3 wineries are within 5 minutes and 7 more within 20. The house is perfect for ...

Price (avg)
$1150/night
Bedroom
5
Bathroom
5
Sleeps
14

Tuscan-style retreat, in the country with 360 views, upper Carmel Valley

Rating: 5/5 (39reviews)

3-4 bedrooms, 2 baths. Sleeps 8. 2 king-sized beds, 2 twins plus one twin w/trundle. Swimming pool, hot tub, steam room. Hiking, horseback riding, Bocci ball, horse shoes, 2 bikes available. wine tasting available. Personal Chef with 2 day notice....

Price (avg)
$550/night
Bedroom
4
Bathroom
2
Sleeps
8

The Cottage at Barlocker's Rustling Oaks Ranch

Rating: 4/5 (5reviews)

The ranch is close to Monterey Bay Aquarium, California Rodeo Salinas, Pinnacles National Monument, John Steinbeck's Museum and Victorian House, and the Laguna Seca Raceway. The ranch is good for couples, solo adventures, business travelers, and ...

Price (avg)
$158/night
Bedroom
2
Bathroom
1
Sleeps
4

Dude Ranch near Bay Area

Rating: 5/5 (7reviews)

You aren't just renting a house, you're booking an authentic country getaway. The Bar SZ Ranch is a genuine working family ranch. A few days here will immerse you in a lifestyle that we love to share with others. Enjoy horseback riding, roping,...

Price (avg)
$500/night
Bedroom
3
Bathroom
2
Sleeps
10

Dude Ranch near Bay Area

Rating: 5/5 (4reviews)

You aren't just renting a house, you're booking an authentic country getaway. The Bar SZ Ranch is a genuine working family ranch. A few days here will immerse you in a lifestyle that we love to share with others. Enjoy horseback riding, roping,...

Price (avg)
$500/night
Bedroom
3
Bathroom
2
Sleeps
10

New Lower Rates - Only 10 minutes from Pinnacles National Park

The Tumbleweed Hotel is a comfortable 3 bedroom, 2 bath, fully contained house. The enclosed sun porch is perfect for relaxing with a good book or a competitive board game. This house has charming decor and comfortable queen sized beds in all 3 be...

Price (avg)
$366/night
Bedroom
3
Bathroom
2
Sleeps
6

Dude Ranch near Bay Area

Rating: 5/5 (3reviews)

You aren't just renting a house, you're booking an authentic country getaway. The Bar SZ Ranch is a genuine working family ranch. A few days here will immerse you in a lifestyle that we love to share with others. Enjoy horseback riding, roping,...

Price (avg)
$400/night
Bedroom
3
Bathroom
2
Sleeps
9

Lazy Hog Inn - Authentic Western Decor (Just 10 Min From Pinnacles National Park

Rating: 5/5 (1reviews)

Our Lazy Hog Inn will transport you back to the days of the Wild, Wild West. With it's beautiful western decor and extraordinary chef's kitchen, this house is completely self-contained. It has a fully stocked kitchen (pots and pans, cooking utensi...

Price (avg)
$626/night
Bedroom
4
Bathroom
3
Sleeps
8

Great Retreat / Family Reunions / Business Events

Rating: 5/5 (3reviews)

The ranch is close to Monterey Bay Aquarium, California Rodeo Salinas, Pinnacles National Monument, John Steinbeck's Museum and Victorian House, and the Laguna Seca Raceway. You’ll love the ranch cottage because of the ideal weather year round, f...

Price (avg)
$1000/night
Bedroom
9
Bathroom
9
Sleeps
30

Mountain Top Retreat, Carmel Valley, California

2-bedroom cottage with true 360 degree panoramic views of Santa Lucia mountains. Tranquil 12-acre enclave perched high on its own private mountaintop. Ideal for a writer or artist working on a project or a couple wanting time alone. Starry nights ...

Price (avg)
$133/night
Bedroom
2
Bathroom
2
Sleeps
4

Dude Ranch near Bay Area

Rating: 5/5 (1reviews)

You aren't just renting a house, you're booking an authentic country getaway. The Bar SZ Ranch is a genuine working family ranch. A few days here will immerse you in a lifestyle that we love to share with others. Enjoy horseback riding, roping,...

Price (avg)
$1800/night
Bedroom
9
Bathroom
6
Sleeps
35

Leave Your Cares Behind

Rating: 5/5 (9reviews)

You feel a sense of peacefulness the minute you step onto the grounds at Star Route. Sit on the front porch, relax in a hammock under the oaks, and enjoy the feeling you get from nourishing yourself in nature. The air is so pure up here, there i...

Price (avg)
$159/night
Bedroom
1
Bathroom
1
Sleeps
4

The Bunkhouse at Star Route

Rating: 5/5 (31reviews)

We are located 20 minutes from shops and restaurants up in the mountains by the Carmel River and Los Padres Dam. There is a winding road through the mountains, so if you don't like curvy roads, this might not be your journey. For those who'd like...

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$118/night
Bedroom
1
Bathroom
1
Sleeps
4

Mesa Del Sol Estate Retreat and Winery

Rating: 5/5 (60reviews)

The perfect setting for a memorable family reunion, get away with friends, birthday and anniversary celebration, corporate retreat, artisan adventures, and unforgetable, intimate weddings. Weekly rentals are preferred, however call owner for other...

Price (avg)
$1200/night
Bedroom
7
Bathroom
5
Sleeps
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Additional Logding Options

Valley Harvest Inn (1155 Front St, Soledad, CA 93960)
Website: http://valleyharvestinn.com
Phone: (831) 678-3833

Best Western Apricot Inn (46290 W Panoche Rd, Firebaugh, CA 93622)
Website: http://book.bestwestern.com/bestwestern/US/CA/Firebaugh-hotels/BEST-WESTERN-Apricot-Inn/Hotel-Overview.do?iata=00171890&propertyCode=05638&cm_mmc=BL-_-Google-_-GMB-_-05638
Phone: (559) 659-1444

Inn at the Pinnacles (32025 Stonewall Canyon Rd, Soledad, CA 93960)
Website: http://www.innatthepinnacles.com/
Phone: (831) 678-2400

Dining

Guadalajara Restaurant (211 Broadway St, King City, CA 93930)
Website: No website available, please call for further questions.
Phone: (831) 385-4606

La Fogata (Santa Lucia Square Shopping Center, 602 Walnut Ave, Greenfield, CA 93927)
Website: No website available, please call for further questions.
Phone: (831) 674-5038

Tours

3-day Hiking Tour in Pinnacles (32025 Stonewall Canyon Rd, Soledad, CA 93960)
Website: http://www.mountainhikingholidays.com/pinnacles_national_park_hiking_tour.htm
Phone: 1-888-743-0723

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