volcanic rock in pinnacles national park

5 Reasons to Visit Pinnacles National Park

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This little-known National Monument turned National Park does not disappoint!

Continue reading to find out the hidden gems that make this park unique!

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5 Reasons to Add Pinnacles National Park to Your Bucket List of Travel Destinations

#1- The History of the Landscape

The landscapes found in Pinnacles National Park are rich in history! The now-extinct Neenach Volcano erupted millions of years ago, leaving miles and miles of volcanic breccia. Part of which is now Pinnacles National Park.

Pinnacles was first named a National Monument in 1908 and became California’s newest National Park in 2013.

volcanic rock formations against a blue sky
volcanic rock and green shrubbery on a mountain range

#2- Talus Caves

Talus caves are formed when large boulders fall down into a pile. Pinnacles National Park has two talus caves you can hike through: Bear Gulch Cave and Balconies Cave.

When I went to Pinnacles, we hiked Bear Gulch Cave. This was my first time actually hiking a cave, not just touring it. It was super fun and is one of my favorite hikes to date! (Click here to read about my hike through Bear Gulch Cave!)

looking up inside a narrow-walled cave
Entrance to Bear Gulch Cave in Pinnacles National Park
Entrance to Bear Gulch Cave in Pinnacles National Park

#3- Hiking Trails

Pinnacles holds more than 30 miles of hiking trails for you to explore! The trails range from easy to difficult and vary in scenery.

a tunnel through rock on a hiking trail
Volcanic breccia and trees
The trail headed to Bear Gulch Cave and Reservoir.
two women posing for photo with mountains in the distance
At the top of the Rim Trail in Pinnacles National Park.

#4- Rock Climbing

Pinnacles is well-known for its rock climbing opportunities! While I have not personally climbed it, I saw several people along the trails who were climbing. Just be careful because the rock is supposedly weak!

rock wall in Pinnacles National Park

The photo above is of Monolith, just outside Bear Gulch Cave near the reservoir. To find all the climbing routes offered in Pinnacles National Park, click here.

#5- The Birds

Pinnacles National Park is home to almost 200 types of birds, including hawks, vultures, eagles, and falcons. Pinnacles also is home to several endangered California condors. This bird was almost extinct at one point in time.

These California condors are very large, with a wingspan of up to about 10 feet, and can live to be 60 years old! I never saw a condor during my day at Pinnacles, but if you do your research you can find where they can frequently be found.

"My trip to Pinnacles National Park"

 A Few Tips for Visiting Pinnacles National Park

  • Bring lots of water! This part of California gets extremely hot!
  • Wear hiking shoes with good tread, preferably waterproof if hiking in the caves.
  • Wear sunscreen! (I definitely underestimated the sun exposure)

I hope this post has inspired you to add Pinnacles to your bucket list of travel destinations! Don’t forget to share this article if you like it!

What to read next: How to Spend 1 Day in Pinnacles National Park: Hiking to Bear Gulch Cave & Reservoir

melissa of dogwoods & driftwood travel blog
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Top 5 Reasons to Visit Pinnacles [California’s Newest National Park]

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