Article: Pinnacles National Park - Paicines, California
I visited Pinnacles back in the 90's when my daughter was teaching at DLI in Monterey. Getting there was half the fun; I recall that the last part was then a dirt road through an abandoned vineyard. Without a flashlight, you were lost in the dark crevasses and caves. What a fun place, and I'm pleased that it finally got status as a national park. It certainly is a neat place to go.
We also stopped by this place in Oct 2011, shortly before it gained National Park status. We visited the eastern side and were fortunate enough to be there when the bats were gone and the entire cave was open (they say March and October are your best chances for that). The shortest hike we could find was 1.8 miles round-trip (which included traversing through the caves). It's a very strenuous but rewarding workout.
My brother, who lived in Aptos, rides down here often on his motorcycle. When we stopped by in early October, it wasn't very busy -- Wish we had time to take one of the walks to the caves, but I needed to be in LA later that night.
It is a cool place!
It's worth pointing out that while there are two entrances to the park, from Soledad to the west via CA-146 and from Pinnacles to the east also via CA-146, the two entrances are not connected and CA-146 is not continuous through the park.
On the other hand, if you're driving the PCH consider using (Monterey) County Road G16 from Carmel through Carmel Valley and Sycamore Flat to G17 and Soledad as a good scenic driving route.