Visit America’s Newest National Park
The Pinnacles National Monument, now called The Pinnacles National Park, was just signed into law as America’s 59th National Park. The bill was sent from Congress and signed by Mr. Obama on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.
The Park is located in the Coast Ranges near Hollister, CA. Theodore Roosevelt first designated this Park a National Monument in 1908 at the same time as Muir Woods and the Grand Canyon.
The Pinnacles features rocky spires and talus caves that are the remains of an ancient volcano, abundant spring wildflowers and a good chance of spotting the endangered California Condor.
The best way to see the Park is to get out and explore some of the Park’s 30 miles of trails. If you are ready for a little adventure and a whole lot of fun, bring your headlamp, and start your journey with a walk/crawl through the Bear Gulch Cave to the Bear Gulch Reservoir.
From there, you can loop back for a shorter hike, or continue on to the High Peaks Trail. I recommend pushing on for a true “Pinnacles” experience. The views, rock formations and condor sightings from the “Steep and Narrow” section of the trail are magnificent and well worth the effort.
The park makes for an excellent weekend road trip from our area, and due to its mild climate, the prime time to visit is winter and early spring. Camping is available within the Park.Hollister, near the east entrance, is also a convenient place to overnight.
Check the park’s website http://www.nps.gov/pinn/index.htm before you go. The caves are sometimes closed due to storms, high water or occasionally nesting bats. Also, the two entrances to the Park do not connect by road, so you will need to decide which side to visit from.
Next time you are thinking about getting out of town, consider a weekend getaway to the Pinnacles, and as Mr. Howser would have said, “you’ll be glad you did.”