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Pinnacles National Monument, California...where to stay nearby? Recommended not-to-miss hikes?

Pinnacles National Monument, California...where to stay nearby? Recommended not-to-miss hikes?

Old Mar 14th, 2008, 11:40 AM
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Pinnacles National Monument, California...where to stay nearby? Recommended not-to-miss hikes?

Thinking of a spring trip here.
Not sure if there's anywhere halfway nice to stay not too, too
far from the park itself?

Considering for my hubby's bday but
maybe not, if I can't find okay lodging. And if you know of anything w/some charm, too...all the better! ;-)

Not sure how far this area is from Carmel Valley? Would that be a viable place to do an overnight
to make this seem more 'birthday-ish?' I hear it gets really hot here, so thinking spring would be nice. Please share too if you've been your fave hike...and if it's an all-day thing, or a half day hike. Any waterfalls possible in the area? I read somewhere that there might be? Also, would LOVE to see a condor, but not sure of chances. Thanks for any advice!!
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Old Mar 14th, 2008, 12:07 PM
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Hi, Daydreamer!

I saw your other post earlier and was going to post a reply on there and here you are on a new thread! LOL!

Lodging: your bigger towns with better choices would be Gilroy or Salinas. A bit further away than the smaller towns of Hollister or Soledad. Hollister might be a better choice than Soledad. You might do a search for what's available in Hollister.

Length of stay: at least a day. You need time to get to the parking lot, whether you are coming in from the east or the west (there is NO through road, so there are two different parking lots. Be sure to go back to the right one!)

www.nps.gov/pinn/

This site has maps of the park. If you look at the map, there are several different loop trails. The furtherest east loop is the longest but it also goes through a lot of flat ground.

This is a real hiker's hike. You should have the right kind of shoes, a backpack to pack your layered clothing, a hat, water, and, if you like those, a hiking pole or two.

Condors are a bit rare to spot but possible. The tips of the condor's wings bend upward. If they don't bend, then it's probably a common vulture you're seeing. Condors of course are much bigger than vultures, but you'll probably not be close enough to tell their size.

Distance from Carmel Valley to the West parking lot is about two hours.

If you go on a weekend, you'll be in a lot of good company. I always enjoy meeting other hikers on the trail.

Have a great trip!
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Old Mar 14th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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Thanks so much easytraveler!
Appreciate the help.

I *did* locate a spot to stay
that sounds pretty nice but it's on the western side of the park, so not sure how that might impact things, as far as access to trails.
(altho' I do realize the road closes at nighttime from that side...so need to mull some more)
I wonder if one could get 'trapped' there if not out & done with hiking in time? :-\

I think from the west you can only get easily to a cave called the Balconies Cave. Again, not sure if as 'cool' as the other cave. (the more famous one) But I do believe one can acess the higher trail from either side...the one that takes you to the peaks.

Much to ponder. Have to decide whether to do Pt. Reyes again for my DH's bday, or whether to try something new like this or not.
Am torn as Pt. Reyes IS beautiful this time of year, to be sure. But...the Olema Inn (nice dining) is still closed while it wraps up renovations. Maybe I *should* wait on PR 'til April & do Pinnacles now? (altho' no flowers yet)
Hmmm.... Thanks so much!
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Old Mar 14th, 2008, 06:26 PM
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Hi Daydreamer!

Dufficult decision - Pt Reyes or Pinnacles!

They're so different - Pinnacles is inland, great views when you get to the top, good exercise for hikers.

Pt Reyes is more leisurely unless you plan to do some strenuous hiking there. Lots more choice as far as hiking is concerned. Terrific 10 mile beach to walk on if you don't want to do one of the inland hikes.

There's also a terrific hike to one of the two waterfalls that fall into the Pacific Ocean. The one at Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park at Big Sur is easy to reach. The other one to Alamere (sp?) Falls at Pt Reyes is a real hike. you have to arrange with the ranger's station to do this one and it's not always open. I wanted to do it last year but the trails were closed last year. If you are a "real" hiker, you may want to check into this one, but it's not romantic! It's work!

Come to think of it, both Pinnacles and the hike to the Falls at Pt Reyes are work! LOL!

How about hiking the trail up to the top of Angel Island? That's pretty easy, gives you a terrific view of the entire Bay Area and you can stay anywhere you want to in the San Francisco Bay Area - even in San Francisco or Sausalito!
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Old Mar 16th, 2008, 11:11 PM
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Easytraveler...
thanks for the further ideas!

Yes, we've done the hikes
you mention, in previous yrs. Sometimes I wondered if I could as I was not in the best shape...but w/a glorious day...much is possible!

Thanks for tipping me off about Alamere not always being open. It was when we tried it a few yrs ago, but I'll be sure to check into that. At this point, our decision will first come down to lodging. Waiting to hear back from both areas to see if anything is left.

I've heard the cave from the Eastern Gate at Pinnacles is cool, but if we only went in from the Western side (since lodging closer to there)...would we be missing a lot? I just wonder. Thanks!
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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Hi, Daydreamer!

At different times of the year, during different years, parts of Pinnacles may be closed. See:

http://www.pinnacles.org/climbing_in....html#closures

Sometimes one of the other set of caves may be closed. You should check into this with the Park Rangers.

I've only hiked in from the Eastern side, looped one of the loop trails, and go out the Eastern side, so can't offer you any information on the West-side trails.

I believe there is a campground on the Eastern side near the Ranger Station.

This is the best time to hike Pinnacles for the wild flowers. Enjoy!
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 09:36 AM
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We hiked the western side Balcony Trail. There are longer and more strenuous trails. We were on our way to Carmel and veered out of Soledad doing it on a whim.

It was about a hr drive on a narrow road east of the 101. The change in weather was drastically warmer then our 101 drive, 100+ degrees. It was March that we went, but this year seems to be a bit cooler.

We had hiking boots, back-pack, water and flashlight. The cave is actually overhanging rocks that form a bat sanctuary, still worth seeing.

It was a uniquely picturesque hike. Nothing like you would expect in CA.

Waterfalls are on the coastal hiway 1, not 101.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 12:17 AM
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Thanks, guys! I just mentioned falls because I heard there *is* some water activity in the caves at certain times of year.
But by now, probably all dried up. Thanks again!
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 08:50 AM
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Walking out of the "caves" into the glen with my wife, we stood and imagined what it would be like to hear Bach's Toccata bouncing off the rock walls. Gilroy's Garlic Festival is in July so you'll miss that. We were backpackers then so I can't help on lodging.
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 11:21 AM
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There is still a bit of water in the cave this time of year.

There is also a very small creek to walk through that should still be running.

Take hiking boots.

To understand how the pinnacles were formed have a look at the last paragraph of this article:

http://www.sonoma.edu/users/f/freide...390geology.htm
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