Photo by Megan Edwards
Rising out of the chaparral-covered Gabilan Mountains, east of central California's Salinas Valley, are the spectacular remains of an ancient volcano field. Massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons and talus passages define millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement. It was named a National Monument in 1908, but became a national park in 2013. Work is underway to provide more infrastructure to the park. The park sits atop the San Andreas Fault zone. This park is best experienced on foot, as most of the caves and trails to the secluded canyons are found away from the two roads in the park. The park is open year-round, the busiest periods are mid-February to early June. Pinnacles is an excellent place to watch raptors and bats.
If you go:
California State Highway 146 does not connect through the park. There is an eastern section and a western section. There is a campground at the eastern edge, the rest of the park is day-use only. The Bear Gulch Day Use area is a good place to start hikes.
5000 California State Route 146
Paicines, California 95043 USA