Hikes in Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park (known as Pinnacles National Monument until 2013) is located in the Salinas Valley east of the 101 Freeway near the cities of Salinas, Soledad, and King City. Most of Pinnacles National Park is located in San Benito County, but a small section at the south end drifts into Monterey County The over 26,000-acre park protects a distinct pocket of inland mountains that is not connected to the larger Santa Lucia Range to the west. This isolated park packs surprising beauty, with peaks formed by volcanoes along the San Andreas Fault that are distinct from the surrounding landscape. There are roads entering the park from the east and west, but no road travels through the park. This leaves the heart of the park accessible only to hikers. There are talus caves on both sides of the park surrounded by unique rock formations. A boldly engineered trail across the 2,500-foot peaks at the top of the Pinnacles is a favorite trek for California hikers. Trails through the caves are popular as well.

Hiking in Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park Balconies CaveBalconies Cave
This 2 to 2.4-mile hike venture down Balconies Trail past impressive rock formations and through a fun talus cave, starting from Chaparral Trailhead on the west side of Pinnacles National Park.
High Peaks Balconies Cave Loop Pinnacles National ParkHigh Peaks – Balconies Cave Loop
This extensive 9-mile loop ventures between the east and west sides of Pinnacles National Park, crossing through the High Peaks and Balconies Cave.
Pinnacles National Park High Peaks TrailHigh Peaks – Condor Gulch Loop
This 5.3 to 6-mile loop crosses the roof of Pinnacles National Park on an incredible trail.
Pinnacles National Park Bear Gulch TrailBear Gulch Reservoir
This 1.5-mile hike passes through a talus cave to reach a reservoir on the east side of Pinnacles National Park.

 

Camping in Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park CampgroundPinnacles Campground
Pinnacles National Park has one campground with tent, RV, and group sites in an oak woodland on the east side of the park.

 

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Rattlesnake Flats Trail - Badger Trail - Bluff Trail Loop Montaña de Oro State Park Hike
Completely resurfaced to be wheelchair-friendly, the Bluff Trail in Montaña de Oro State Park is one of the most pleasant coastal trails in California. Once you have hiked the Bluff Trail, you will probably want to see it again (and again and again). Revisit the Bluff Trail and get just a bit more elevation by creating a loop with Bluff Trail, Badger Trail, and... Read more.
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Tagged with · California State Parks · Free Trails · Los Osos · Ocean Views · Tide Pools · Montaña de Oro State Park
Distance: 1.65 miles – Elevation change: 150 feet
By: Published: Last updated: March 16, 2016
China Flat Trail Simi Peak Trail Simi Hills hike Oak Park California China Flat Dead Cow Trail Suicide Trail Loop Oak Savanna
Looking up at the orange sandstone outcroppings on the rugged slopes of the Simi Hills, you would hardly expect the terrain above to host a peaceful oak savanna. Walk through this grassy area shade by tall oaks to ascend to Simi Peak, the highest point in a mountain range that spans the boundary between Ventura County and Los Angeles County just north of the 101 Freeway. ... Read more.
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Tagged with · Conejo Valley · Free Trails · Oak Park · Simi Hills · Summits · Dog-Friendly Trails · Mountain Biking Trails
Distance: 6.2 miles – Elevation change: 1090 feet
By: Published: Last updated: April 25, 2016
Gaviota State Park Campground Santa Barbara area Gaviota California beach camping Gaviota SP Campground
Pack the tent and your flip-flops when you visit the campground at Gaviota State Park. Each site is ambling distance from a sandy beach along the scenic coast west of Santa Barbara. A railroad trestle, pier, and hiking trails are close to the campground, which is just off Highway 101, making it a convenient place to camp near the ocean. About 30 miles west of Santa... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: June 29, 2016
East Cuesta Ridge Road Mount Lowe Road Santa Lucia Mountain East Cuesta Ridge Hike San Luis Obispo
East Cuesta Ridge Road, also known as Mount Lowe Road, is a dirt road that crosses the dominant ridgeline in the Santa Lucia Mountains northeast of San Luis Obispo. Views from the trail extend over San Luis Obispo and its surrounding peaks toward the ocean to the west at Morro Bay and to the south by Oceano Dunes. The hike starts just off Highway 101 at the top of Cuesta... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: April 3, 2016
Stenner Creek Trail Red Dog Trail Poly Canyon Road Loop San Luis Obispo Eucs Hike
Above Stenner Creek Road near the Cal Poly Campus, a freestyle bike course is hidden within a eucalyptus grove. The easiest route to The Eucs is to head up and back on Stenner Creek Trail. For a longer hike that explores neighboring grassland on slopes below the Santa Lucia Mountains, consider this 4.25-mile loop with 550 feet of elevation change. This hike takes Stenner... Read more.
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Tagged with · Cal Poly · Creeks · Free Trails · Santa Lucia Mountains
Distance: 4.25 miles – Elevation change: 550 feet
By: Published: Last updated: January 4, 2016