Pinnacles National Monument is a protected mountainous area located east of central California's Salinas Valley. The Monument's namesakes are the eroded leftovers of half of an extinct volcano.The Monument is divided by the rock formations into East and West Divisions, connected by foot trails; there is no through road that connects the east end west entrances to the park. The east side has shade and water, the west has high walls. The rock formations provide for spectacular pinnacles that attract rock climbers. It is popular with advanced rock climbers due to the many difficult and challenging climbs. The Monument is most often visited in spring or fall because of the intense heat during the summer months.
I recommend going the reverse route and saving the caves for the end of your hike. This trail was moderate...I would not rate this as "hard." We hiked a total of 6.1 miles and it took us about 3 1/2 hours with breaks and exploring the cave. We were lucky enough to see condors at the high peaks! By far the coolest part of the hike is navigating the narrows you climb stairs as steep as a ladder hanging on to a steel bar. I'm terrified of heights and wasn't sure if I could handle this but it was actually a lot of fun! You never feel like you're "on an edge." The safety bars are very sturdy. You have to be able to crawl and duck through narrow small spaces. It's pretty rad! The views were spectacular and the elevation gain was gradual. We started around 1:15 and finished around 4:45. The park visitors center closes at 5:00 this time of year (February) and the last bus back to the parking lot is at 5:30 so don't miss your ride! This trail doesn't offer much tree coverage at all so if you go on a hot day- make sure you're prepared for that. Enjoy this unique hike!
Far exceeded my expectations! Wear waterproof gear if you don't want to get wet. We had a blast walking through the caves! The waterfall was roaring- lucky us! Take your time and go back through a second time. If someone is behind you and rushing you, step aside and let them pass. If people are yelling and being obnoxious (that was my experience...)I recommend letting those people pass as well and just enjoy being in the cave. Do this!
Super pretty trail! We went to the old pinnacles trail to the juniper canyon trail and then went down bear gulch trail back to our car. Next time I would do the hike backwards and start at bear gulch. The incline was difficult, there are lots of switchbacks. And if you've already been hiking for 6 miles, going uphill is tiring. The views are definitely worth it though once you get to the top towards the peaks. Can't wait to go back!
Started from peak view trail head and did Old Pinnacle trail to Balconies. Initially the walk was just ok but eventually you start seeing rock formations that come into view and it's as if you walked/hiked to a completely different state. Great views very impressive. Made it to the point where we had to decide go left to Balconies cliff trail or the caves. Went cliff trail route & that was the "wow" section. Very nice. Then on to the caves. Was told by several people to have a flashlight and I must say you definitely need some form of light. Be it your phone light or headlamp. Not smart to try and navigate without a light. Definitely worth the drive and hike.