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Wild Recovery
San Jose, California
October 15-18, 2015
Pinnacles National Park - Fall Retreat
Monterey County
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Pinnacles National Park - Fall Retreat
October 15-18, 2015
Host: Anna J


The Place

Pinnacles was proclaimed a National Monument in 1908 and was designated a National Park only 2 years ago in 2013. The park encompasses over 26,000 acres with 16,000 acres designated as wilderness. As do all parks, Pinnacles protects natural and cultural features, recreational opportunities and open space in an ever increasing urban setting. The most noticeable features in Pinnacles are the rock spires, ramparts and crags that bear no resemblance to the surrounding foothills that dominate the landscape. It is believed to be the result of million of years of faulting and tectonic plate movement along the San Andreas Fault Zone.

Pinnacles National Park - Fall Retreat

Pinnacles National Park is also one of the few remaining release sites in the United States and Mexico for the California condor. One of the largest birds in North America, the condor weighs about 20 pounds and has a wingspan of 9.5 feet. This magnificent bird found itself on the endangered species list in 1967 but thanks to aggressive captive breeding programs in the 80’s & 90’s the likelihood of catching a glimpse of condors flying over the high peaks (at an altitude of 15,000 feet) is good.

Walking the Walk

Thursday Hike: South Wilderness Trail – Level 2 – 6.5 Miles – Elevation: 10’

Friday Hike: High Peaks / Balconies Cave Loop - Level: 3.5 – Miles: 12.2 – Elevation: 1,540’

Saturday Hike: North Chalone Peak - Level 4.5 – Miles: 13.6 – Elevation: 2,040’

All of our hikes will start from the campground. Friday’s hike will be strenuous. We will begin by climbing the High Peaks where we will be rewarded with great views and spectacular formations. The rest of the hike will be down hill or flat returning along Old Pinnacles and Balconies trials. We will plan to go through the caves so be sure to bring a flashlight. Saturday’s hike will be another strenuous hike as we will head to the highest point in the park. There is an unmaintained trail to the South Chalone Peak for those who want more. We will be hiking through Bear Gulch where more caves are so again don’t forget your flashlight. Sunday will be an easy stroll for those looking to get more exercise before heading home.

Pinnacles National Park - Fall Retreat

Know Before You Go:

Drive Time: 1 hour & 20 min (San Jose) – Park Entry $10 - Camping Fee $20

Dogs are allowed in the campground (on a leash) BUT not on any of the trails

The visitor center is open year round from 9 to 5. The visitor center includes a store with camping goods such as propane, food, water and wood (to name just a few items).

Caves have low ceilings and have slippery rocks inside – Bring a flashlight & Wear shoes with good traction

Daytime temperatures in the summer and early autumn can reach 100 degrees. Bring plenty of water & bring a hat to wear.

Pinnacles National Park


From San Jose: Take US-101 S towards Los Angeles for 32.8 miles. Take exit CA-25 toward Hollister and turn left. Stay on CA-25 S for 41.4 miles. You will take a slight right onto CA-146 W before entering the park on your right. Drive to the Visitor Center to pay the park entry fee. This is not included in the price of camping. After paying head toward the group campgrounds (make a left then a right). We are the last group campgrounds # 133 & 134. We are allowed a total of 10 vehicles.

Pinnacles National Park

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