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Pinnacles National Park, Paicines

4.5
#77 of 610 in Nature in California
Must see · National Park · Nature / Park
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Pinnacles National Park is an American national park protecting a mountainous area located east of the Salinas Valley in Central California, about five miles (8.0 km) east of Soledad and 80 miles (130 km) southeast of San Jose. The park's namesakes are the eroded leftovers of the western half of an extinct volcano that has moved 200 miles (320 km) from its original location on the San Andreas Fault, embedded in a portion of the California Pacific Coast Ranges. Pinnacles is managed by the National Park Service and the majority of the park is protected as wilderness.

The national park is divided by the rock formations into East and West Divisions, connected only by foot trails. The east side has shade and water, the west has high walls. The rock formations provide for spectacular pinnacles that attract rock climbers. The park features unusual talus caves that house at least 13 species of bats. Pinnacles is most often visited in spring or fall because of the intense heat during the summer. Park lands are prime habitat for prairie falcons, and are a release site for California condors that have been hatched in captivity.

Pinnacles was originally established as a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and was redesignated as a national park by Congressional legislation in 2012 that was then signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 10, 2013.
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Pinnacles National Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
582 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Spacious campground with abundant wildlife and starry skies. Hiked Condor Gulch to Viewpoint and saw a low flying condor, awesome! Will come again, very relaxing three days, no crowds mid week. 
    Spacious campground with abundant wildlife and starry skies. Hiked Condor Gulch to Viewpoint and saw a low flying condor, awesome! Will come again, very relaxing three days, no crowds mid week.  more »
  • I just returned from a visit to both the East and West sides. First advice is arrive early because peak season has started. I arrived at 8 am to both entrances and the park was nearly empty. By the... 
    I just returned from a visit to both the East and West sides. First advice is arrive early because peak season has started. I arrived at 8 am to both entrances and the park was nearly empty. By the...  more »
Google
  • Get there early, it does fill up fast. I got there at 9:30am and had to park in overflow parking. That being said, the shuttle transports people to bear gulch every 20 minutes. The park is beautiful. It's intricate. A lot of parks are (rightfully so) great for their vast amazing views and spectacles. Pinniacles National park is great for it's depth and intricacy. It's elaborate trails, caves, peaks, and stairs feel compacted. It's one fun event after the other. You may not come here and find yourself isolated with nothing but miles and miles of woodsy trail ahead of you. But you can definitely come here with a loved one and walk through a almost amusement park like set of trails for a couple hours and have an incredible time. Getting a feel for this park is hard when looking at pictures, because it's beauty isn't in the big picture, but in the small details.
  • Highly recommend: 1. Condor gulch to overlook trail (short and moderate terrain) 2. Moses spring trail to bear gulch - make sure you go towards the LEFT first into the caves, then up to the reservoir then make a big turn towards the upper trail towards moses spring trail and come down from the west side for awesome views from the other side of the trail.

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