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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Chumash Trail Crespi Trail Hutash Trail Loop Morro Bay State Park San Luis Obispo hike California Turri Road
While it is one of the more inland hikes in Morro Bay State Park, the loop formed by connecting Chumash Trail, Crespi Trail, and Hutash Trail delivers ample coastal views as it leads to a lovely grove of coast live oaks. This lollipop loop covers 2.9 miles with 420 feet of elevation change. Hutash Trail can be trimmed from the circuit to lower the round trip distance to... Read more.
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Tagged with · California State Parks · Free Trails · Morro Bay · Morro Bay State Park · Ocean Views
Distance: 2.9 miles – Elevation change: 420 feet
By: Published: Last updated: August 9, 2016
Terrace Hill Open Space hike San Luis Obispo California Terrace Hill Loop
An interesting chain of conical volcanoes, or volcanic plugs called the Morros, graces San Luis Obispo County. Terrace Hill is one of the smaller and harder to identify Morros within the city of San Luis Obispo County. Unlike the other Morros, Terrace Hill has a broad flat summit. The top of the hill was removed for use as construction material in the 1920s, leaving... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Morros
Distance: 0.55 miles – Elevation change: 110 feet
By: Published: Last updated: August 5, 2016
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: August 23, 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: August 23, 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