What To Do Atpinnacles National Park
Ready to seek out some air conditioning, delicious food, and other kinds of entertainment? Sounds like its time to head into one of the nearby towns or cities. Lucky for you, there are plenty of those, and each one offers something unique, meaning your explorations will continue even after you leave the park.
Feeling overwhelmed by it all? Not sure which things to see, do, and eat? No worries! Weve narrowed the long list down to the best of the best, making your choices easy and rewarding.
Camping At Pinnacles National Park
There is a viewing area with telescopes at the Pinnacles Campground your best chance of seeing one of these beautiful giants is during their evening feeding time. Each campsite also has a table, fire ring and grill. To make reservations, visit www. Campgrounds Near Pinnacles National Park Despite the limited options for camping within the boundaries of Pinnacles National Park, there are plenty of good campgrounds in the surrounding area.
Day 1 Pinnacles National Park Hikes: Bear Gulch
There are plenty of options when it comes to hiking trails in Pinnacles National Park. With more than 30 miles of trail to choose from it can feel a little daunting. Below Ive listed several cant-miss hikes for your first visit to the park.There are options for shorter hikes as well as opportunities to extend your hike thanks to lots of connecting trails.
One spot you dont want to miss at Pinnacles is Bear Gulch.
If youre looking to put in a long hiking day start at the Pinnacles Visitor Center and head towards the Bear Gulch Day Use Area and then take the Moses Spring to Rim Trail Loop. This route will follow Chalone and Bear creeks to Bear Gulch Day Use Area then continue on to the talus caves and the reservoir. The total mileage for this route is 6.8 miles. In spring and fall, you will see flowing water and in summer dried river bed. Be warned that a large percentage of this hike is in full sun so make sure you bring your sunscreen and hat.
Pinnacles Visitor Center to Bear Gulch Day Use Area Hike Details
Distance: 2.3 miles one wayElevation: 300 feetIntensity: Moderate
The day we hiked this trail we saw a tarantula crossing, several deer, many California condors above us and plenty of ground squirrels and bunnies. Keep your eyes peeled for poison oak, I did see some growing along the trail.
Moses Spring to Rim Trail Loop
Distance: 2.2 miles round tripElevation: 500 feetIntensity: Moderate
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Pinnacles National Park Trails
Our hikes. Day 2 = Yellow, Day 3 = Blue, Day 4 = Green, Day 5 = Orange. Link to NPS Trail Map.
We had five days at Pinnacles so we were able to hike the majority of the trails. For our first day, we started off some-what easy and hiked from the campground towards Bear Gulch.
One thing to keep in mind is that Pinnacles experiences extremely high visitation on weekends. When we arrived on Sunday the Old Pinnacles and Bear Gulch parking areas were full so Rangers were directing everyone to park at the Visitor Center and hike in. Remember this adds over one mile each way to your hike. If you want to hike High Peaks, Condor Gulch, or the Moses Spring trail on the weekend the recommendation is to arrive before 8:30 am.
Pinnacles National Park Camping: The Perfect 2
Camping in Pinnacles National Park has been on my bucket list since I first heard about the park a couple of years ago.Unlike some of the other desert campgrounds weve stayed at like Joshua Trees Black Rock Campground or Furnace Creek Campground in Death Valley, camping in Pinnacles is a little quieter and has some unexpected amenities including a pool. When our plans to hike the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim fell apart we had to scramble to come up with a vacation plan, luckily there were plenty of open campsites at Pinnacles and after reviewing some of the nearby hikes we booked a site for three nights.
There are many guides out there for Pinnacles camping and hiking, butthis one has compiled all the information you need to plan a camping trip inside the park, or if campings not for you Ive also included lodging near Pinnacles National park so you can relax in a proper bed.
In the guide we will go over:
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Hotel Options On The West Side Of Pinnacles National Park
Accommodation options are a bit less sparse on the west side of the park. Besides the options provided here, you can go further afield to Monterey and visit the park as a day trip.
- Inn at the Pinnacles is the closest option to the West entrance. This hotel is often booked out months in advance as it is only 5 minutes from the parks entrance.
- In Soledad there are two budget friendly options, although dated and a bit worn.
- Motel 8
Key Pinnacles National Park Campground Regulations
“Vehicles that do not fit in spur can not stay. Please be sure your vehicle or vehicles will fit prior to reserving. There is a small overflow parking area near the campground store but is full most of the time. This lot is a long distance from most of the sites. If you do need to use it and get lucky and find a spot you will have a long walk back to camp. No RV’s are allowed in the overflow parking lot.”
Check Pinnacles National Park for any campground updates.
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Petrified Forest National Park In March
Petrified Forest National Park is home to the Petrified Forest of 225-million-year-old fossilized trees.
The Painted Desert, a patch of badlands, is also part of this park.
Visit in March for beautiful weather and cooler hiking temperatures.
The Petrified Forest is located in Holbrook in northern Arizona.
Its in a remote area of the state, 108.7 miles from Flagstaff and 202.4 miles from the capital city of Phoenix.
Its a worthwhile and unique place to visit and a popular road trip from Phoenix.
The closest airport is in Flagstaff. However, its a small and mostly regional airport so the larger, international Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix may be a better option for most.
Both airports do have rental cars available.
There is one gas station located in the national park near the north entrance, and ten others located in the town of Holbrook 20 minutes away.
There are a convenience store, restaurant, and gift shop near the north entrance of the park where most people enter. And youll find a gift shop with snacks available near the south entrance of the park.
Pinnacles West Entrance Highlights
The Parks West Entrance is the most accessible for visitors from Monterey. This entrance is open for day use only, so dont come this way if youre looking for the campground.
Youll want to use the West Entrance to access the Balconies Cave and Jawbone Trail. It has a new visitor contact station, but overall youll find fewer amenities near this park entrance.
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Pinnacles National Park Weather
One of the major questions I have when planning a trip is what will the weather be like?
Weather Averages for Pinnacles National Park
We camped at Pinnacles 2/21 – 2/26 and the weather was almost perfect. Sunny days but not too warm . A few days were overcast or had some clouds which is always a treat on a strenuous hike. The nights were cold, but not too cold that we couldnt enjoy our campfire but by 9 pm it was time to head inside the RV.
Summers can get really hot and I am not a fan of hiking in 100-degree weather. The temperatures in Spring and Fall are ideal for hiking but I would recommend even late winter as we did. If you do visit in the summer you can always hike in the mornings and enjoy the swimming pool during the peak of the day.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park In March
Visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in March is a perfect time to explore here on the Big Island with fantastic spring weather, less crowds visiting at this time and so much to see at the park grounds.
Volcanoes National Park is about 29 miles to the main city in Hilo and 83 miles from the main city of Kona.The closest city to get to the national park is from Hilo downtown which is about forty minutes and you can easily rent a car from downtown or at Hilo airport. From Hilo take Highway 11 south to the park entrance sign.If you are looking for gas stations nearby, you can get gas at Volcano village which is a few miles from the park entrance or you can easily get gas in Hilo before you start your trip.You can also get snacks and food to go in Hilo or in Volcano village, there are a few restaurants and a small market and sandwich shop for take out food.
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Day 2 Balconies Cave Hike
The second must-see spot in the park is Balconies Cave.Unlike the talus caves, these are a bit more adventurous, small children might have a tougher time with this hike, but its well worth it if you want a little bit more bouldering than yesterday.
Drive to the Old Pinnacles Trailhead parking area to start this hike. Make sure to bring a headlamp or a flashlight for these caves and keep an eye out for Western Mastiff bats. Again, check the status of cave closures prior to heading out.
Old Pinnacles Trail to Balconies Cave
Distance: 5.3 milesElevation: noneIntensity: Moderate
Before you approach the caves make sure to spend some time looking up at the Machete Ridge and the Balconies cliffs high above. This hike will take you into the Balconies caves where you will see plenty of giant boulders suspended in crevasses, creating several small rooms for exploring. Be warned that these caves do not have as many handrails or carved steps as the talus caves.You will need to keep an eye out for arrows on rocks and small signs pointing the way through them, but it is very worth it!
If youre feeling up to it add on a small section called the Balconies Cliffs Trail.This section will take you up higher for a closer look at some of the pinnacles. It will also allow you to see whats on top of the cave you were just climbing through.
Death Valley National Park In March
Visit Death Valley National Park in March for the famous Wildflower Super Bloom that occurs in spring and pleasant hiking temperatures.Death Valley National Park is located mostly in California , 126 miles from Las Vegas, NV , and 214 miles from Los Angeles, CA .The closest airport to the 5th largest national park in the US is McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas or Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and both airports have car hire options.There are a few gas stations in Death Valley National Park: at Furnace Creek Ranch, Stovepipe Wells Village, and Panamint Springs Resort. Diesel and propane are sold only at Furnace Creek Ranch. Gas prices inside the park are higher than outside. There are also several service stations at Pahrump, the town most people visit on Death Valley road trip and and a major stop on the way to Death Valley from Las Vegas.If you forget to pack something or need to buy some essentials, several convenience stores are located in the following areas Stovepipe Wells, Furnace Creek, Death Valley Junction, and Beatty.
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Pinnacles Visitor Center To Balconies Cave
If you want to hike a good amount but donât want to do a High Peaks loop, you can do some or all of this trail in addition to the Moses Spring and Rim Trails. This trail is flat, and takes you to Balconies Cave, the other main talus cave in the park. If you do the full trail, it is 9.4 miles round trip.
This trail is particularly lovely in the spring, when you will see lots of wildflowers along the way, plus birds, bees, and possibly wildlife. The trail runs along Chalone Creek, and is very pleasant when it is not hot.
From the West Entrance to Pinnacles, these are our favorite trails:
Rvers Top Questions About Rv Camping In Pinnacles National Park
Image from NPS
Pinnacles National Park has one developed campground that can accommodate RVs and travel trailers. Pinnacles Campground is on the eastern side of the park. There are no connecting roads through the park, so be sure to enter the park from the east to access the campground.
A unique feature of Pinnacles National Park is that it can accommodate larger size rigs. Most campsites can hold an RV or travel trailer up to 30 feet, and some campsites can accommodate RVs and travel trailers up to 42 feet. If you have a larger rig, this is a great national park to visit.
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What Amenities Are Available At Pinnacles Campground
Image from Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles Campground is on the east side of the park in a shaded grove of oak trees. It is also near the visitor center, making it a great place to begin your exploration of the park.
Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring. There are community picnic tables and barbecue pits throughout the campground.
In addition to electric hookups and showers, the Pinnacles Campground has a general store and a seasonal swimming pool! A swimming pool is a rare find at a national park, so be sure to take advantage. The pool is open from April through September.
State And Federal Representatives
According to the California Secretary of State, as of April 2008, Monterey County has 147,066 registered voters. Of those voters, 72,550 are registered Democratic, 42,744 are registered Republican, 5,488 are registered with other political parties, and 26,284 declined to state a political party. Except for Sand City, all of the other cities, towns, and the unincorporated area of Monterey County have more individuals registered with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. In Sand City, the Republicans have the advantage by 1 voter.
In August 2018, it adopted a flag designed by a Nob Hill resident.
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Bryce Canyon Things To Do
- Take an 18-km scenic drive along the main park road-Hike the Rim Trail for scenic views over the Amphitheater
- Go on a guided snowshoe hike
- Enter the lottery for full moon snowshoe hikes
- Join the Astronomy Programs offered by the Visitor Centre-Cross-country ski along sections of the Rim Trail
By Margherita, The Crowded Planet
Things To Do At Arches National Park In March
- Most things at Arches National Park revolve around hiking and taking photos of arches! The park is home to thousands of arches most famous of which can be accessed by easy or moderate hikes.
- While most visitors come here for the famous Delicate Arch, it takes about 2 days to check most trails at this national park off your bucket list, so dont skip the rest of the park after snapping the iconic photo.
- And, if the weather forecast calls for snow, make sure to bring your camera. Arches is a popular national park for winter photography, as snow makes for incredible photos against bright orange red rock.
By Daria, the Discovery Nut
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Bear Gulch Cave Trail
Length: 1.5 MilesOut-and-Back
The Bear Gulch Cave Trail is a short but sweet hike thatsaccessed from the east side of the national park. It follows a beautiful gorgefilled with boulders until it reaches the titular talus caves and the BearGulch Reservoir. Although the caves are definitely worth exploring, theyreperiodically closed down to accommodate the batsthat sometimes reside there.
Length: 9 MilesRoundtrip
If youre camping at Pinnacles in hopes to see wildflowers,there are few better trails to do so than Chalone Peak Trail (in season. At 9 milesroundtrip, this hike is definitely strenuous, but all that effort is well worthit. The payout is reaching Chalone Peak, the highest point in the nationalpark. Fantastic views of the surrounding valleys greet you. Still not finishedhiking? You can continue on an unmaintained trail to nearby South Chalone Peakfor even more magical views.
Learn more about ChalonePeak Trail.
Pinnacles National Park: Day Trip Guide
Pinnacles National Park is one of Californias best-kept secrets. With a great mix of breathtaking views, easy hikes, and fascinating wildlife, it makes for a perfect family-friendly day trip. If you live in the Bay Area or are visiting from out of town, make sure to add Pinnacles to your itinerary!
In this post well explore what makes Pinnacles National Park such a great day trip option. Well cover everything you need to know about visiting Pinnacles National Park, including what to bring . Ill also add some bonus information, like how your kids can earn a Pinnacles Junior Ranger Badge!
Things are changing fast make sure to double-check whats open before your trip. And be sure to follow all local guidelines to keep yourself and others safe!
Also, we use affiliate links to keep our blog free for you to read and to pay for the occasional pizza night. If you purchase through a link on our page, we might receive a small commission at no cost to you.
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