“an Ancient Volcanic Field”
Some 23 million years ago multiple volcanoes erupted, flowed, and slid to form what would become Pinnacles National Park. What remains is a unique landscape. Travelers journey through chaparral, oak woodlands, and canyon bottoms. Hikers enter rare talus caves and emerge to towering rock spires teeming with life: prairie and peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and the inspiring California condor.
It's an easy day trip from the San Francisco area, and it's less crowded than Yosemite! There's tons of cool caves to explore and lots of really nice hiking trails. Just be warned-- bring LOTS of water, and watch out for rattlesnakes.
About half way down California State Route 25 (AKA The Airline Highway), you’ll have access to the east entrance to Pinnacles National Park. It’s the perfect side to enter if you’re planning on camping at the park or hiking Bear Gulch Trail to the caves or reservoir. (Note: the east and west entrances to the park DO NOT connect. To access parts the west side of the park you must exit and drive around.)
Condors! This has to be the best place to see condors. Morning hike to watch them sun and fly off for the day of looking for food. Great place for birders.
Summers here are apparently crazy hot so best to avoid the park during the hottest months. Spring weekends are apparently also packed, but there's loads of great hiking and climbing and it's an easy day-trip from SF.
Such a hidden gem! Lots of hiking, massive boulders, cool rock caves, fine examples of 1930s/40s CCC work still standing, and wildlife critters. Saw a few condors way up high! Glad we made the trek.
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Pinnacles National Park
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
Good for bird watching, climbing, and 7 more activities.
Credit Cards Accepted
- National park
Campground, Parking, Dining