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.

 

hikespeak
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: January 6, 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: December 14, 2015
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... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | | |
Distance: 4.25 miles – Elevation change: 550 feet
By: Published: Last updated: January 4, 2016
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.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: |
Distance: 1.9 miles – Elevation change: 560 feet
By: Published: Last updated: December 14, 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.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | |
Distance: 3.25 miles – Elevation change: 575 feet
By: Published: Last updated: December 14, 2015