We kick off the weekend by arriving at our campground anytime after 1 pm and checking in with your trip leader. Located in the unique Pinnacles National Park, located 32 miles south of Hollister, CA and 29 miles northeast of King City, CA on Hwy 25. You’ll be immersed in the outdoors while still having simple comforts like a hot shower and flushing toilets.
If you arrive early, Pinnacles National Park has more than 30 miles of trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. Many trails intersect, allowing for a short loop or a longer all-day hike.
This evening, we’ll get to know your fellow Adventure People as we sit around the campfire with your drink of choice.
This morning, we’ll hit the trails for a full day of exploration! The Bench Trails provides direct access to the park from the campground. Hopefully, the Balconies Cave and Beach Gulch Cave, which houses a large colony of Townsend’s big-eared bats, will be open. The cave is usually open in March as long as the hibernating colony of bats shows no signs of disturbance. Townsend’s big-eared bats are listed as a “sensitive species” by the state of California, and they are protected. The colony in the Bear Gulch Cave is the largest maternity colony between San Francisco and Mexico.
After exploring the caves, we’ll walk through the heart of the Pinnacles rock formations, particularly along the steep and narrow section of the High Peaks trail. The Condor Gulch Trail to High Peaks Trail Loop is a 5.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail that features a lake and is rated as difficult. This is the #1 rated hike in central California, but there are less strenuous trails if you’d prefer to do something else.
High Peaks Trail at Pinnacles National Monument threads its way through the wreckage of a volcano destroyed by the San Andreas Fault millions of years ago. The Monument, about 100 miles south of San Jose, celebrates the assortment of rock formations created as the volcano gave way to greater forces of plate tectonics.
This from the easter entrance of the Pinnacles provides the most direct route to the High Peaks, where a series of ladders and multiple tight squeezes take hikers through a geological maze that has made the Pinnacles a favorite among hikers from throughout California.
While the rocks and expansive vistas are the main attractions, you might get lucky and spot some of the rare California condors that nest in the park and soar high above.
Trails on this hike:
Condor Gulch Trail; High Peaks Trail; Bear Gulch Trail.
Starting from the Bear Gulch parking area, you can go either way. Condor Gulch Trail is a bit steeper, so you may want to start out there to get your climbing done on fresh legs and spare your knees on the way down.
Springtime adds wildflowers to the awesome scenery, making it a near-perfect hike.
Sunday is departure day and the end of our incredible weekend. After breakfast, we’ll pack up camp and say goodbye to our new friends until the next adventure.
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