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.
There is a 134-site campground on the east side of the park. Reservations can be made through reservation.org or by calling (877) 444-6777. There is an entrance fee to access Pinnacles National Park.
|Bear Gulch Reservoir|
This 1.5-mile hike passes through a talus cave to reach a reservoir on the east side of Pinnacles National Park.
|High Peaks – Condor Gulch Loop|
This 5.35 to 6-mile loop crosses the roof of Pinnacles National Park on an incredible trail.
There are very few places in nature where you would feel comfortable getting up close to a 5,000-pound animal, and Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is one of them. While visiting the seal colony, you can get up close to these impressive (and vocal) animals and observe them in their natural habitat. In addition to two quarter-mile long boardwalk trails, the rookery... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: January 30, 2014
If you're looking for a hike to a historic site on California's Central Coast with abundant ocean views, check out the 3.6-mile round trip hike on Pecho Coast Trail to the Point San Luis Lighthouse. The hike near Avila Beach crosses land owned by PG&E that is accessible only with a trail guide on organized treks. On the way to the lighthouse, you'll enjoy sweeping... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: April 19, 2014
The foreboding sounding Tarantula Hill, which also goes by the more welcoming name of Dawn's Peak, is a small, isolated mound in Thousand Oaks that hikers can summit for views over the Conejo Valley and into the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. If your spider senses are detecting pavement, that's because the entire half-mile-long trail up Tarantula Hill is paved. While... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: November 23, 2013
Oats Peak is the second highest summit in Montaña de Oro State Park, a full 26 feet taller than Valencia Peak, which is probably the park's favorite summit for hikers. Oats Peak is located a couple miles inland of Valencia Peak, sporting smaller ocean views and greater views over the Irish Hills, the canyons and ridges making up the interior of the Montaña de Oro State... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: September 14, 2013
Montaña de Oro State Park has every type of hike you could want, ranging from easy oceanfront strolls to difficult summit ascents. If you're feeling like goldilocks and want something in the middle (just right), check out Reservoir Flats Trail, a 2-mile loop with 200 feet of elevation gain that is conveniently located just behind the park visitor center. The trail... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: September 13, 2013