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 5.35 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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Coon Creek Trail Montaña de Oro State Park hike Coon Creek Canyon Montana de Oro San Luis Obispo California
Coon Creek Trail explores a coastal canyon at the south end of Montaña de Oro State Park. The trail heads inland for 2.5 miles to a pleasant grove of Monterey cypress at the site of an old homestead that has since disappeared. Take a break in the shade of the cypress trees before turning around for a 5-mile round trip hike with 250 feet of elevation gain. Junctions... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: September 29, 2014
Balconies Cave hike Pinnacles National Park Balconies Trail Loop
Pinnacles National Park preserves some of California's oddest landscapes with out-of-place rock spires and boulder-filled gorges with talus caves just waiting to be explored. Grab your headlamp and head to the west side of Pinnacles National Park for a trek into Balconies Cave. This fun 2-mile out and back hike or 2.4-mile lollipop loop hike crosses a playground of... Read more.
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Distance: 2 miles – Elevation change: 200 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: August 14, 2014
High Peak - Balconies Cave Loop hike Pinnacles National Park High Peaks Trail Juniper Canyon Balconies Cave Trail Old Pinnacles Trail
Pinnacles National Park is a spectacular place to hike. There is a High Peaks area covered in rock spires and equally impressive boulder-filled gorges with talus caves to explore. See both the High Peaks and Balconies Cave on a great 9-mile loop through diverse Pinnacles landscapes. Starting in the east, this clockwise loop ascends 1,575 feet to a thrilling crossing of... Read more.
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Distance: 9 miles – Elevation change: 1575 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: August 13, 2014
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground Big Sur California Camping
Pinnacles National Park has spectacular boulder-strewn mountains and gorges filled with talus caves. The park is a playground for hikers and climbers. For campers, there is Pinnacles Campground, a 149-site campground set within an oak woodland on the east side of the park. While the campground isn't amongst all the awesome rock formations, the park's fun is close at... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 31, 2014
Camping in Andrew Molera State Park Trail Camp Big Sur California Campground
Andrew Molera State Park preserves nearly 5,000 acres of beautiful parkland at the north end of Big Sur. Hikers can explore the park on over twenty miles of trails, including the Ridge Trail - Panorama Trail - Bluff Trail Loop hike. For campers there is Andrew Molera State Park Trail Camp. This 24-site first-come first-serve campground is located in a grassy meadow near... Read more.
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 28, 2014