San Jose, California
Pinnacles National Monument
Pinnacles has dramatic rock formations, caves, wildflowers, and bits of California history. The caves were formed by rocks falling into the canyons, not your usual underground erosion by water. Not surprising, since Pinnacles is near the San Andreas Fault.
Take 101 South, Exit on Hwy 25, then go through the town of Hollister. Follow the signs carefully because in Hollister Hwy 25 turns left and then right. After you leave town, stay on Hwy 25 until you get to Hwy 146, which takes you to the park.
Pinnacles has two entrances, one on each end of the park. Use the directions above to find the East Entrance and the Bear Gulch Visitor Center, otherwise you'll have a long crawl to the caves to find us.
Allow two hours drive time form San Jose and remember the hike starts an hour earlier than usual at 9 AM. Parking is $5.00.
Starting out from the Bear Gulch Visitor Center, we take Condor Gulch Trail up to High Peaks Trail. Once we get up on the ridge, we go along an exciting part of the trail that is comprised of handrails and stone steps. We hit the peak after this, and then High Peaks brings us along to our meeting spot. By now, we will surely be grateful for this meeting.
After the meeting, our treat is going to be to hit the Rim Trail down to the Reservoir. We will have a chance to explore the Bear Gulch Caves, as I am pretty sure they will still be open, so bring a flashlight. The last leg of the trail after the caves is right along the water, and very sweet for the weary.
This is a Level 4 hike. It is six miles long with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet.
This is a Day Trip. We are starting at 9:00 AM instead of our normal 10AM, because this hike can take up to five hours, including our meeting, and it is a two-hour drive from San Jose. Also, it could be a pretty warm day, so we want to beat the heat for the first part of our hike, which is climbing up.
We will be hiking quite a lot before we break for our meeting and lunch, so bring snacks and PLENTY of Water, to keep refreshed. Bring Sunscreen and don't forget a flashlight for the caves.
Sorry, dogs are not allowed.
For more information contact your host, Jennifer N. It's always good to check back here for last-minute updates too.