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“First rate experience”

Pinnacles National Park
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Paicines
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: This natural site has spire-like rock formations reaching 1,200 feet high.
Reviewed 8 August 2017 via mobile

Thoroughly enjoyed this day hike, as well as the drive to down the unexpectedly rural Highway 25. Purchased the lifetime pass at the well appointed gift and snack shop at the entry area. Affordable camp and trailer sites, very scenic grounds for the sedate, the young, and the resting restless.
Searing hot above, signs advise 1 liter per hour. Took a northern trail from the Eastern approach, 2 miles seemed like lots more. The altitude is not so high, the physical condition not to toned these days! Have to work on that.
These volcanic igneous intrusions have marched 200 miles from an extinct volcano the other side of the San Andreas fault. Wore down a mile in the process. Large jumbled boulders, caves within.
A person training or conditioning could move on the various trails, and in the space of 2-3- or 4 weeks could know this place well, love it, and be a bit tougher.
Chatted a bit with small groups of 2 or 3. Travel more quietly and see more wildlife. One chatty group voiced not seeing condors, which were everywhere.
Awesome photo opportunities, peaks to macro close-ups. Hope to return to trek some more...

2  Thank Cllark W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"east entrance"
in 55 reviews
"high peaks"
in 30 reviews
"rock formations"
in 35 reviews
"visitor center"
in 56 reviews
"california condor"
in 23 reviews
"bear gulch"
in 83 reviews
"bring flashlights"
in 7 reviews
"nps website"
in 5 reviews
"the san andreas fault"
in 11 reviews
"trail head"
in 13 reviews
"bring plenty of water"
in 12 reviews
"huge boulders"
in 7 reviews
"short hike"
in 19 reviews
"great hiking"
in 17 reviews
"day hike"
in 11 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 19 reviews
"balconies cave"
in 55 reviews
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63 - 67 of 466 reviews

Reviewed 5 August 2017 via mobile

▪️Arrived at Balconies Cave Trailhead parking lot about 9 am on a June Saturday. Many available parking spots at that time.
▪️Temp was on the way to over 100 which helps explain why so much parking was available. We went thru a lot of water during the more exposed areas of the hike.
▪️Trail was about 2 1/2 miles and took us about two hours.
▪️If you are tall, crouching in the cave is really required. And, it really is dark in some areas. Bring a good flashlight. We used our iPhone flashlights.
▪️If you wear glasses, do not just bring prescription sunglasses or you will make the cave even darker. My mistake.
▪️Recommend: Yes
▪️Previous experience: Second visit to Pinnacles, but our first hike. (Visited 53 of the 59 national parks.)

4  Thank packcal p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2017

We left Paso Robles around 7:30 am and headed north on 101. After a beautiful drive from Highway 101 through the mountains and ranches with hardly any traffic, we arrived at the east entrance at about 9 am. The park was not crowded. We found a hike to Bear Gulch Cave and the Reservoir which was about 2.5 miles and not very difficult. It was very scenic with pinnacles, caves, rocks and rangers training to retrieve injured climbers from the rocks. Went back to the Visitor Center (very small with a general store attached), and left after a 3 hour visit. Well worth the visit on our way north to Seattle.

2  Thank cavebearagain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2017

My friend and I stopped at Pinnacles National Park while southbound on Hwy 101. It's about a half-hour drive from Soledad on State Hwy 146. The road is well-kept but fairly winding, so be prepared for alert driving through somewhat rough country.

Once at the park, we stopped at the Visitors' Center. The ranger was very friendly and helpful, giving us tips for driving further into the park; you can't travel all the way across; our road in from the west would not connect with the eastern entrance to the park, off State Hwy 25 (near San Benito). He also invited us to a screening of the park's video about conservation efforts to bring back the giant Californian condor, which has been pretty successful; they currently manage 86 wild condors. The Center also has a bookstore and--my favorite--a kiosk where you can get your National Parks Passport stamped.

The park itself is pretty primitive; the rock spires are beautiful but, unless you want to do some hiking, you won't see much from your car. Unfortunately, we didn't allot that much time for our visit, so we weren't able to get out and really enjoy the park as much as we could have. There is a campground in the park, with a camp store, so we certainly could have extended our time there.

If you're a fan of desert landscapes, and hiking through them, Pinnacles is definitely worth a visit. Try to allot a full afternoon just for the hiking, or plan to stay overnight in the campground. The remote location and gorgeously rugged terrain will reward the time you spend!

3  Thank Galeda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 July 2017

We made a quick stop here and enjoyed a short hike to the caves. We saw what appeared to be a California Condor soaring high above. This is their nesting place. This is very natural and has a small visitor's center. It was very hot, so bring plenty of water and wear appropriate hiking attire.

1  Thank Jo N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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