Discovering Pinnacles National Park

Discovering Pinnacles National Park

Located about 40 miles east of Salinas Valley on the southern section of the Gabilan Mountains is a unique landscape of rock spires and canyons that make up Pinnacles National Park. This stretch of unique geologic formations are the remains of ancient volcanoes that were torn in half and moved more than 195 miles north by the San Andres fault-line. Millions of years of wear and tear by nature’s elements have created the spectacular peaks that make up Pinnacles National Park.

Townsend's Big-Eared Bat

Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat –
photo credit: Ann Froschauer/USFWS

A multitude of diverse animal and plant species call this place home, including 14 different species of bats, approximately 400 bee species, the endangered California condor, Pinnacles shield-back katydid, Pinnacles riffle beetle, the Gabilan slender salamander, Texosporium sancti-jacobi a rare lichen, the bush poppy, blue elderberry, and much more.

More than 30 miles of hiking trails make up Pinnacles and range from easy flat stretches to challenging all-day uphill hikes. Visitors are encouraged to bring sufficient water with them at all times and a flashlight if your hiking into Talus Caves.

The two Talus Caves are known as Bear Gulch Cave and Balconies Cave. Bear Gulch is home to a colony of Townsend’s Big-eared Bats, a sensitive species that is under protection by the state of California. The bats give birth and raise their young in spring and summer and hibernate during in winter. Bear Gulch Cave is closed during certain times of the year when the bats are roosting or raising their young. Both caves may be closed at certain times due to weather conditions.

If your looking for a truly spectacular hike, walk, or just a place to sit and enjoy nature, this 26,000 acre park makes for a wonderful place to

Pinnacle Visitor Center Hours – East Entrance
9:30am- 5:00pm (Daily)

West Pinnacles Visitor Contact Station
Hours of Operation – Pacific Time
9:00am – 4:30pm (Weekends and Holidays; Occasional Weekdays, Staff Permitting)