A recreational playground 23 million years in the making. This park’s amazing rock spires and talus cave systems are a boon for hikers and climbers alike. Good to know: There are two Read more...
A recreational playground 23 million years in the making. This park’s amazing rock spires and talus cave systems are a boon for hikers and climbers alike. Good to know: There are two entrances to the park and they are only connected by trails. You can’t drive through the park so if you're camping, go to the east side entrance.
32 miles of trails range from easy to strenuous. For an easy jaunt, hike to and through one of the caves. Both Bear Gulch and the Balconies cave are under two miles roundtrip. You can also make these hikes longer by connecting them to other trails in the Park. Pro tip: Bring a flashlight and verify the caves are open on the Park’s website.
If you’re feeling froggy, the South Wilderness Trail is for you. A section of it is known as “The Pig Fence” because it’s so steep you have to hold onto the fence beside the trail for balance. The fence was installed to keep feral pigs out of the park. Don’t miss the view from the bathroom on top of North Chalone Peak, it’s quite scenic.
While the rock here is no Yosemite granite, the Park’s proximity to the Bay Area makes it a worthwhile climbing destination. The east side has easy approaches and top-ropeable routes. The west side is more spread out with tons of sport and multi-pitch trad options. Check out the mega classic five-pitch Cuidado (Sport 5.10c) on Machete Ridge or hit up Top Rope Wall to TR your heart out. The rock here can be dodgy, so always check before weighting it.
Don’t forget to look up. This park is release site for the endangered California Condor. If you get lucky you'll see these impressive birds flexing their wingspans high above you. Other winged denizens of the Park include falcons, Great Horned Owls, and thirteen species of bats. Animals of the four-legged variety include coyotes, grey fox, and bobcats.
Whatever you end up doing here, pin Pinnacles NP to the top of your to-do list.