Friday, April 4, 2014

The Pinnacles National Park

Dale Matson

Pinnacles National Park is about 2.5 hours nearly due west of Fresno. We took 99 north to 152 then 156 to Hollister. Out of Hollister we took 25 to 146 and entered the park from the east. 146 also enters the park from the west off 101 but 146 does not connect with itself within the park. In other words, you can’t drive though the park.

We were told that we were there at a good time since mid summer is very hot. We had rain the night before so the trails were not dusty and the air was clear. For someone used to the granite of the Sierras, the volcanic Pinnacles are quite a different sight.

The route we took (see map) was a bit much for folks who drove over that morning, and hiked for 7 hours then drove home. My GPS had us at 11.65 miles with about 2,200 feet of altitude gain. We included the high peaks loop and had lunch later on the loop on a bench with an outhouse nearby.

I think our biggest challenge was the balconies cave. We had headlamp but the cave required too much bodily flexibility under rather slippery conditions. We turned back and took the Balconies Cliffs trail around the cave.

When we ate lunch, we could see where the Condors were nesting on a rocky outcropping. They were flying overhead and we could see the white leading edges of their wings. I had 10 power binoculars but was unable to get a photograph of any of the birds.

The park is well maintained and the trails are well marked. there are a number of trails marked with a carabiner sign for climbers. This is also a climbing mecca. It was a special day.

There is a video of our trip on YouTube.   


  1. The Pinnacles National Park sounds a cool place as Grand Canyon National Park. Such kind of unique and natural wonder always attracts me to visit them because I love nature. I believe that national park is the best place to see the beautiful creations of Almighty God and represent the real beauty of the earth. I have visited Grand Canyon National Park in my recent bus tours grand canyon. Now after reading this blog I wish to visit The Pinnacles National Park in upcoming summer vacations. Let me know what time will be best to visit this?

  2. David,
    I am told the best time is the Spring season. The Condors are there year round.

  3. Thanks for suggestion dear Dale Matson! Let me know about the best resort to stay there for my family. Tell me about other nearer attractions too. I am looking forward to your guideline.

  4. David,
    We went over from Fresno and did our hike as a day trip so I don't know about resorts. However, we noticed camping, lavatories and places for RVs in the park. There is really no town close to the park.