Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park, Paicines: Address, Phone Number, Pinnacles National Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Pinnacles National Park
4.5
About
This natural site has spire-like rock formations reaching 1,200 feet high.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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The area
Address
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
4 within 5 kms
Popular mentions

4.5
568 reviews
Excellent
348
Very good
169
Average
33
Poor
11
Terrible
7

nancyzalzalah
Paso Robles, CA48 contributions
One of my favorite parks
Oct 2021
The hiking is awesome I recommend going during the week less people. The trails are rated easy to strenuous .I would pick up at map of the trails at the visitor center they are pretty detailed .Best time to go is early morning and bring plenty of water there are no places to get water so bring lots and don't forget your camera very photogenic there. I have been there over 12 times its awesome!
Written 14 October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SeniorTravelerTF
Fort Atkinson862 contributions
Wonderful trail leading to a reservoir
Aug 2021
This trail varies scenery to keep interest the entire hike, some woods, some rock, climbing (but not excessively) to the Bear Gulch Reservoir. Combine the Moses Springs with the Bear Gulch Trail for a loop that offers continuous changing views, shade in the heat of the day, and some rock and cave travel. Not strenuous, moderate in both distance and elevation. A flashlight is helpful for short intervals.
Written 6 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SeniorTravelerTF
Fort Atkinson862 contributions
Bite sized national park experience
Aug 2021
Interesting and manageable experience. Fascinating hikes that quickly capture the essence of the park. Limited visitor center availability during COVID. Overshadowed by glamor parks but this should be added to your list. Only drawback is the distance from hotels and restaurants. Distance, although not extensive, is exacerbated by winding roads with reduced speeds. Beware of extreme heat in summer, which we managed by choosing hikes carefully and avoiding afternoon. Highly recommend Balconies Cave, Balconies Cliff, Moses Spring, and Bear Gulch Caves trails. Balconies Cave will involve some physical activity over, around and up/down rocks inside a cave so be aware.
Written 6 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Andrew M
Monterey County, CA310 contributions
Pinnacles national park
Aug 2021 • Couples
Hiked the Balconies Cave Trail loop. Awesome adventure… Best part was the dark AF cave, need flashlights… Highly recommend.
Written 21 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nelson M
Cleveland, OH55 contributions
Reliable place to see California Condors
Aug 2021
We came to Pinnacles National Park via the east entrance specifically to try to see California Condors and they were there! We had tried looking for them at three state parks in Big sur with no luck.

The ranger at the visitor center was highly knowledgeable and gave us very specific directions to where they are reliably seen. This involved a uphill hike starting from the Bear Gulch Nature center parking area. We hiked up the Condor Gulch trail one mile to the Viewpoint which is a vertical climb of 700 feet. This was described as moderate difficulty but for us 70 year old Ohioans it was pretty strenuous! It took us close to an hour. We started the hike at 10 am and it got really hot. We recommend starting earlier. Just as we got there the 3 condors we saw were already soaring and soon were so high up that you couldn't see them very well and binoculars were needed for reasonable views. There were also several turkey vultures there also which helped see the size and wing color difference between these two birds.

We did get good views of the pinnacles themselves which were interesting as well.

Final recommendations if you are going to look for condors:
Take plenty of water.
Start earlier than 10 am.
Take binoculars.
If you are not used to hiking mountains, expect a difficult trek in the heat to get to the viewpoint. The trail continues past the viewpoint where we are told it gets even harder. We did not attempt this!
Stop at the visitor center and get detailed instructions on where to go and pick up enough water and food for the hike.
Written 4 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

phvi2617
Anaheim, CA229 contributions
Terrific hiking with caves and condors
Jun 2021
Pinnacles is a very unique and beautiful park with great hiking. It is smaller and far less crowded than California's other national parks, but there is still plenty to explore in the 30+ miles of trails that wind through a number of different habitats and landscapes.

It is not an overly developed park, which gives it a sense of tranquility and ruggedness. That being said, there are more facilities, trailheads, and campgrounds on the east side of the park, which is about 45 minutes from either Hollister or King City.

I did a 10-mile loop from the Old Pinnacles trailhead to High Peaks and Balconies Cave. The route goes through chaparral, the park's namesake rock formations, a rare talus cave, and riparian woodland. The High Peaks area has a few steep and narrow sections (moderately strenuous), but you are rewarded with the sight of majestic California condors soaring overhead at the top. The cave is quite fun, though there are some tight spots and flashlights are required.

Be mindful that it does get very hot by midday during the summer, so it is best to hike early and carry plenty of extra water. Overall, a wonderful place to get on the trail to see a unique part of California.
Written 16 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

nikko gandia
Monterey, CA226 contributions
hiking the 10 mile juniper canyon to high peaks trail loop at pinnacles national park, california
Apr 2021
i hiked the 10 mile juniper canyon to high peaks to condor gulch trail loop and posted a video that includes a vlog, tips and suggestions for all hiking levels, so future visitors can be prepared for the journey to come. you can find a link to my youtube on my profile or you can look me up by name “nikko gandia”.

visiting this park is such a change in scenery for it being so close to where i live in monterey, california. it definitely feels like you’re in another state.

i entered through the west entrance and parked in the chaparral lot, which is right next to the juniper canyon and balconies trailheads.

make sure you’re prepared for the heat, depending on the time of year and day you go.

if you’re a less experienced hiker or are looking for a shorter hike, i suggest entering through the east entrance and exploring the bear gulch area.

there’s not much to see on the juniper canyon trail unless you can hike up to the high peaks, which is 4 miles total and 1k of elevation gain.
Written 10 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

tanya
Houston, TX19 contributions
So worth the detour!
Jun 2021 • Family
Amazing hike to Bear gulch via Moses Spring Trail. Definitely not an “easy” hike, but ok for kids and adults in decent shape. We were with an older relative who has mobility issues and he could only go half way (which was still breathtaking). The rest of our group went to the top and we’re blown away by all the amazing views and rock formations! This park is a hidden gem! As such, no one knows about it and you have the place to yourself, well at least nit with the crowds of most national Parks. Bring lots of water and your own lunch, and then prepare to be awestruck!
Written 24 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MIchael L
New York City, NY85 contributions
Breathtaking Day Visit
May 2021 • Couples
First, kudos to all fellow reviewers - it allowed us to make good decisions for our day visit to Pinnacles. It was utterly perfect...here’s what we did. Arrived East Gate 7:55am. Just in time - cars starting to line up after ours, and we got one of the last parking spots at Bear Gulch lot.

Instead of going right up Condor Gulch - which would be counterclockwise, we followed trail towards the next parking lot and the start of High Peaks and Rim Trail. We did add the Rime Trail loop (an extra mile, well worth it). Did the High Peaks loop clockwise, and were rewarded by condors at the top. The trail felt safe at all times, with toe holes and hand railings...and mostly (if not all) were in the up direction, which is easier.

Condor Gulch trail down...not as interesting as the rest, but we were already maxed out by awe and beauty.

Whole hike took 4.5 hours including short lunch break.
Written 29 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Renee Gagnon
1 contribution
Very disappointing change to a beloved campground
May 2021
I have camped at Pinnacles campground numerous times in the last few years. It's a wonderful campground, well maintained with friendly staff. I recently got injured and unable to hike in the National park, so I decided to make a day trip to visit friends who were camping there. I was very unpleasently surprised to have to pay $30 (yes, $30, not $15 as quoted on other reviews) to go spend a few hours with my friends in the campground, not using the National Park. The campground is a concession, not operated by NPS, but now, you have to pay the NPS entrance fee even if you don't use the park. I was very disappointed to see the NPS taking advantage of a wonderful independant campground to make a $.
Written 19 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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