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Pinnacles National Park Travel Guide

  • Photo: Wolterk |

Plan Your Pinnacles National Park Vacation

Pinnacles may be our nation’s newest national park, but Teddy Roosevelt recognized the uniqueness of this ancient volcano—its jagged spires and monoliths thrusting upward from chaparral-covered mountains—when he made it a national monument in 1908. Legends abound of robbers and banditos who used the park’s talus caves as hideouts, though undoubtedly the park’s most famous denizens

today are the singularly magnificent California condors, which were all but extinct just 25 years ago. Though only about two hours from the bustling Bay Area, the outside world seems to recede even before you reach the park’s gates.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Condor encounters There are only 240 California condors alive in the wild today, and Pinnacles is home to more than 30 of the critically endangered bird.
  2. Cave exploring The park contains two talus caves—a unique type of cave formed when boulders fall into narrow canyons, creating ceilings, passageways, and small rooms.
  3. Hiking the pinnacles There aren't many roads, so the best way to see the otherworldly rock formations of the ancient volcano found in the middle of the park is to hike the over 30 miles of trails.
  4. Climbing sans crowds The park's newbie status and remote location means it gets a lot fewer visitors than parks like Yosemite, leaving the hundreds of rock-climbing routes crowd-free.
  5. Star appeal Far from cities and smog, the park is a popular star-gazing destination, especially during the annual Perseid meteor shower.

When To Go

When to Go

Summers tend to be very warm, and triple-digit temperatures are not uncommon; luckily this means fewer crowds, especially on weekdays. The spring...

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