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“Nice place for rock climbers, lacks shade”

Pinnacles National Park
Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Paicines
Certificate of Excellence
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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 September 10, 2012

We camped at the Pinnacles National Monument. The biggest complaint I had was that there isn't much of shade (both in the campground and at the trails). The caves were awesome. The children thoroughly enjoyed climbing up and down the rocks. The best part is we could do this on a regular weekend with very minimal driving (~80 miles from Bay Area). If you are planning to camp out here, please be sure to bring some shade (patio umbrella etc). If you are specifically looking for campsite info, we stayed at 79/81/83. Out of these 83 was the only one that had a decent amount of shade. but 79/81 are HUGE campsites so you have a lot of space to move around. This is definitely a good place to visit in the non sunny months.

2  Thank VidRan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"east entrance"
in 54 reviews
"high peaks"
in 29 reviews
"rock formations"
in 31 reviews
"visitor center"
in 50 reviews
"bear gulch"
in 75 reviews
"california condors"
in 18 reviews
"cliff trail"
in 6 reviews
"bring flashlights"
in 6 reviews
"bring plenty of water"
in 13 reviews
"the san andreas fault"
in 11 reviews
"short hike"
in 18 reviews
"hiking experience"
in 6 reviews
"huge boulders"
in 6 reviews
"balconies cave"
in 49 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 17 reviews
"picnic area"
in 13 reviews
"ranger station"
in 10 reviews
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373 - 377 of 425 reviews

Reviewed September 8, 2012

Spent an enjoyable 1/2 day at the west Pinnacles. No crowds if you get there early but by midday on a weekend it becomes busy. The scenery and solitude were fantastic. We took the high peaks trail which provided a good workout so morning with cooler temperatures is the preferred time. Be sure to take some water along. There is a modest entrance fee and well maintained restrooms. Trails are dusty and dry so expect to pick up some trail grit.

Thank Loki_and_Odin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

We went on August 10 and it was very hot. In the morning around 10am, we went to the Bear Bulch Cave from the east entrance. The park function on an honor system, so you pay the park fees at the visitor's center. There is a restroom facility at the parking lot where the Bear Gulch trail starts. The hike was not far (less than one mile for sure) and when we got to the cave, it felt like it had air conditioning!! We didn't want to get out. The upper half of the cave was blocked off though because bats are still hybernating in there. There are concrete steps inside the cave. The cave itself was nothing spectacular; just more like a vertical cave where you see a little bit of water. We didn't get our shoes wet at all, but I think that's because we went in the summer. We drove back to King City for lunch and went to Balconies Cave (west entrance) in the afternoon. There is a brand new visitor's center at this entrance. Since we've already paid the admission when we went in throught the east entrance, we didn't have to pay again. (I think the ranger drives around the parking lots to check if you have the receipt taped to your window). You need to take the road going to the Balconies Cave trail all the way to the end where there is a parking lot. I can't remember if there was a permanent restroom there or porta-potties....I am leaning towards porta-potties. The hike was also less than one mile, and the Balconies Cave did not feel air-conditioned like the other one. However, I found this cave more interesting. There are many huge rocks (some very round) which have fallen from above and have gotten stuck, forming the talus cave. Some portions of this cave are quite dark, so you should have a flashlight. At a couple of spots, you really have to climb up/down by stepping on rocks. The climbs are short though, probably less than 8 feet. We did not encounter any bugs or insects or snakes inside the cave. The cave is not long, just right for little adventurers. If you have an agile kid, I think an 8 yr. old will do fine, but make sure it's the dry season. Some of the rocks can get pretty slippery if wet. From King City, both entrances are a little bit over an hour away. You cannot drive from one entrance to the other....but you can hike across (they say it'll take you a few to several hours). If you want to visit both entrances, I think King City is the best place to stop for a bite to eat. There are no restaurants at the park. At the east entrance, two people manned the visitor's center; at the west entrance, one person manned the visitor's center. Oh, and there is no cell phone reception for T-Mobile or Verizon at the park. However, I was told that along the road before you turn into the east visitor's center, there is reception for another carrier...maybe AT&T?

4  Thank JJAACCKK2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2012

Remote & hot. Bring plenty of water. Rugged mountains, great hiking & an occasional CA Condor sighting. Peaceful & quiet.

1  Thank TiredWorldTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 18, 2012

We must have hiked over 6 miles in total at Pinnacles. I was determined to see the Balconies and to do so we did the High Peak trail. Well worth it; the scenery is just breathtaking. Nature is truly amazing at carving out formations.

We also did one of the cave hikes and experienced natural air conditioning on a very hot day.

By the time we were done my calves were so sore that it took a week for them to recover.

1  Thank TravelerAgain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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