Pinnacles National Monument is a protected mountainous area located east of central California’s Salinas Valley. Rising out of the chaparral-covered Gabilan Mountains are the spectacular remains of an ancient volcanic field. Massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons and talus passages define millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement. Over the years we’ve hiked there as a family as well as chaperoning the kids’ field trips with their schools. Hiking Trails
There are over 30 miles of hiking trails at Pinnacles National Monument, ranging from easy, flat walks to more challenging, all-day hikes. Carry and drink plenty of water, especially during the hot summer months. The sights are spectacular.
There are hundreds of routes on both sides of the park. If you’ve never climbed at Pinnacles, be sure to read the climber’s safety advisory. You’ll also want to check our raptor advisory page for information on routes that are under advisory to protect nesting prairie and peregrine falcons. We’ll watch, but leave that to the professionals!
There are two talus caves at Pinnacles: the Bear Gulch Cave is closer to the east parking areas, and the Balconies Cave is closer to the west entrance. Check the status of the caves before you plan your visit. These pictures are from the Balconies CaveRanger Programs
Ranger talks, guided hikes, and evening programs are offered each spring on the east side of the park. Night programs are occasionally offered on weekends in spring, summer, and fall months.
Pinnacles Campground is now within the boundaries of pinnacles National Monument, and is managed by a concessionaire. Reservations are handled by recreation.gov or 1-877-444-6777. Tent, RV, and group sites are available.To learn more and visit the Pinnacles, visit the National Park Service’s site, http://www.nps.gov/pinn/index.htm.