Pinnacles National Park

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Pinnacles may be the nation's newest national park, but President Theodore 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 the most famous denizens of Pinnacles these days are the magnificent California condors that thrive in its wilderness. The bustling Bay Area is only about two hours away, but the outside world seems to recede even before you reach the entrance gates.

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