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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M Trail Cerro San Luis Madonna Mountain Hike to the M Cerro San Luis Obispo California
From downtown San Luis Obispo, it's easy to spot the large white "M" on the side of nearest mountain, Cerro San Luis. If you've looked up at the "M," you may have wondered what it's like to look down from that big white letter. Find out on a 1.9-mile hike that goes right up to the "M". You can also visit the Mission Prep High School "M" as part of a longer hike to the... Read more.
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Distance: 1.9 miles – Elevation change: 560 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: June 9, 2015
Hi Mountain Trail Hike San Luis Obispo County Hi Mountain Road Arroyo Grande
Hi Mountain Trail is located in the Santa Lucia Mountains east of Lopez Lake. The San Luis Obispo County-run trail is quite different from the area's coastal hikes and covers a variety of environments in a short distance. Start with a nice-and-easy streamside trail through a dense woodland. Bust up a ridge and suddenly you're in a grassy landscape with panoramic views. ... Read more.
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Distance: 3.25 miles – Elevation change: 575 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: June 8, 2015
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve Bluff Trail Cambria Marine Terrace Trail East West Ranch San Luis Obispo County California central coast hike
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve (previously called East West Ranch) is a 434-acre park right in the middle of Cambria, a coastal town at the north end of San Luis Obispo County. Bordered by neighborhoods to the north and south, the preserve provides public access to a mile of beautiful coastline spared from development except for trails with boardwalks, bridges, and whimsical... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: June 7, 2015
Old Prospector Trail Pond Trail Loop Irish Hills Natural Area San Luis Obispo Prospector Hill Hike
Today the Irish Hills are like a gold mine for hikers, but the small mountain range in San Luis Obispo historically hosted several mines for chromium and mercury. The ruins of one of these mines can be visited on Old Prospector Trail, which opened in 2015 to join the growing group of trails in Irish Hills Natural Reserve. This hikers-only single track starts in Froom... Read more.
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Distance: 4.4 miles – Elevation change: 650 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: March 18, 2015
Visit Montaña de Oro State Park Hiking Trails San Luis Obispo California
Montaña de Oro State Park has dramatic ocean bluffs and summits with sweeping views. The park covers over 8,000 acres and has 7 miles of undeveloped coastline, making it a rare treasure on the California Coast. There is one road into the park, entering from the north from the town of Los Osos, which is just west of the city of San Luis Obispo. For those staying... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 1, 2015