Map of the Pinnacles National Monument. Satellite map of the Pinnacles National Monument
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Pinnacles National Monument
In central California, entrances near Soledad and Hollister
The monument preserves the rock formations known as "The Pinnacles," talus caves, and wilderness areas. The spires and crags that inspired the park name are remnants of ancient volcanic activity that is part of the long geologic history of the San Andreas Rift Zone. Pinnacles is on the Pacific Plate. Its sister rock, the other part of the same volcanic activity, is on the North American Plate. Pinnacles has moved 195 mi northwest as the plates have shifted over millions of years. The monument was established on January 16, 1908.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Bird-watching, caving, hiking, rock climbing, viewing wildflowers. Facilities: Bear Gulch Visitor Center (east entrance on Rte. 146 via Rte. 25), Chaparral Ranger Station (west entrance via Rte. 146 from Soledad), outdoor interpretive exhibits, hiking trails. Book and map sale areas, picnic tables. Programs & Events: Guided hikes and interpretive talks (Mar-May). Night hikes and bat viewings (fall). Tips & Hints: Prepare for temperatures of 110°F in summer. Carry plenty of water. Wear sturdy footwear. Trail elevations range from 800 feet to 3,300 feet. Bring flashlights to visit caves (open seasonally). If you want to visit caves, enter from the west side of the park for easy access to the Balconies Cave trail. Go between Feb. and May for wildflowers. Go during the week in spring to avoid crowds (and consequently limited parking). Busiest Mar.-May, least crowded July and Aug.
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES
Camping: None in park. At east entrance: Pinnacles (tel. 831/389-4462; 128 sites; $7-$28; flush toilets, showers, hook-ups). ? Hotels: None in park. In Hollister: Best Western San Benito Inn (660 San Felipe Rd., tel. 831/637-9248; 42 rooms; $99-$120). X Restaurants: None in park. In King City: Guadalajara Restaurant (211 Broadway St., tel. 831/385-4606; $6-$8). 6 Groceries: None in park. In Paicines: General Store (12261 Airline Rte., tel. 831/628-3293), Pinnacles Convenience Store (2400 Rte. 146, tel. 831/389-4462.)
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Entrance fee: $5 per vehicle; $2 per person on foot, bicycle, or motorcycle, free ages 15 and under. No pets, bikes, or strollers on trails. No pets beyond parking and picnic areas. Leashed pets only. Charcoal fires only. No firewood gathering. No hunting. Watch out for tarantulas (especially in autumn, the mating season), black widow spiders, and rattlesnakes. Be wary of poison oak in shaded areas of woodlands. Park open daily at 7:30 am, closing hours change seasonally. Visitor center open daily 9-5. Chaparral Ranger Station open weekends 9-5, intermittent weekdays.
HOW TO GET THERE
The monument's east entrance is 33 mi south of Hollister via Rte. 25 and Rte. 146. The west entrance is 13 mi east of Soledad via Rte. 146. No connecting road through the monument. Closest airport: San Jose (75 mi).
Pinnacles National Monument (5000 Rte. 146, Paicines, CA 95043, tel. 831/389-4485, fax 831/389-4489,). King City Chamber of Commerce (203 Broadway St., King City, ? A 93930, tel. 831/385-3814). San Benito County Chamber of Commerce (tel. 831/ 637-5315).
Pinnacles National Monument. How to get by car to the Pinnacles National Monument. How to book a room and its price in the Pinnacles National Monument