The Pinnacles National Monument are the spectacular remains of an ancient volcano. Massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons and talus passages define millions of years of erosion, faulting and tectonic plate movement. Junior ranger programs, scout ranger programs and adventure packs available here.
Spring, fall, and winter are the most popular times to visit Pinnacles National Monument. Summers are hot and dry, and hikers need to be prepared for extreme temperatures.
The monument is open for day use every day of the year. Please remember that camping is only allowed in the Pinnacles Campground on the east side of the park. Backpacking is not permitted.
The east side of the monument is open 24 hours a day for hiking. Pinnacles Campground offers tent, RV, and group campsites. Reservations can be made online at www.recreation.gov.
An automatic gate at the west entrance of the monument opens each morning at 7:30 and closes each night at 8:00 pm. Park visitors will be able to leave the park after the gate is closed, but cars will not be able to enter. This will allow for late hiking and climbing. Please remember that camping is not allowed on the west side of the park.
For camping reservations, please visit www.recreation.gov or call (877)444-6777 .
We have been here three times and visited from each entrance. We have hiked each time, but never remember to bring our flashlights. Remember to bring your flashlight, because there are a lot more hikes to go on if you have flashlights. The hiking trails are all fabulous. The scenery is fabulous. When I am here I always want to stay longer. The are even some short hikes the little ones can go on. Bring you own lunch there is nothing nearby.
Spires and crags rising dramatically out of the valley are what’s left of an ancient volcano; the other half is 195 miles to the southeast, thanks to the San Andreas rift. The 24,000-acre wilderness park attracts rock climbers, hikers, cave explorers, and pinickers. Short, easy paths (some suitable for strollers) make ferny creeks and moutain views easily accessible.
Spring is spectacular, with riots of wildflowers, which bloom here earlier than inmost parts of the state. Winters are mild, fresh, and green. Midsummer can be extremely hot and dry, with temperatures in the hundreds. Call ahead about ranger-led walks and hikes, and spectacular night hikes. A nice campground at the entrance to the park has a swimming pool ( http://www.nps.gov/pinn/planyourvisit/camp.htm).
This place was a lot of fun. If you're into rock climbing like we are, there are LOTS of places to climb and hike. It's a unique place with a beautiful landscape. Only downside I could think of is the poison oak that is EVERYWHERE! I have little kids, and it was hard to explain not to touch any plants or even brush up on them. Luckily no one had any problems, so it was a good trip all around. Oh, and the caves were really cool. Some spots are a tight squeeze, so if you have a big backpack, you might have some difficulty!
Pinnacles is a wonderful place for the outdoorsy family with kids that can hike or be carried. The beautiful old volcanic spires of granite which tower above the landscape are enchanting. The park abounds with talus caves which snake underneath the rock and are great for kids to explore. The caves are not fully underground and are found along regular hiking routes. Most of the caves that are open are fairly safe. Bringing a flashlight can help, though they are doable without one. Some of the caves may have bats, in case you like or dislike them! Condors and raptors can also be found nesting and flying above the park. Spring is probably the best time to visit since the temperature is cooler and the flowers are in bloom. I wouldn't recommend the summer time with small kids, as the temperature can easily climb into triple digits. There is a campground near the eastern border of the park. Pinnacles is somewhat of a rock climbing mecca with great rock climbing spots for families who climb and routes for all skill levels.