April 21

Hiking the Pinnacles

Our friends join us on a hike at Pinnacles National Monument south of Hollister. Pinnacles are remnants of an ancient volcano on the San Andres Fault. We hike the High Peaks Trail which rises over 1,400 feet. The entire loop is a little less than 6 miles. We had the extra challenge of hiking during a heat wave with temperatures over 90 degrees.

USAmap

Saturday morning Louie meets us at the cottage in Menlo Park and I drive Toby and myself down to the Pinnacles, a roughly 2 hr drive. Julie, Brian and Kelly met us at the park around 10:30am. The crowds at the park were heavy due to National Park week and it's free admission. Due to a full parking lot at Bear Gulch we had to park at the Visitor Center and take a shuttle to take us 3 miles to the start of our hike at the Bear Gulch Nature Center.

We start the hike along Moses Spring Trail through Bear Gulch Cave which was nice and cool. The cave trail ends at Bear Gulch Reservoir before starting the High Peaks Trail which leads up the hill over 1,000 feet. Once along the higher section of the narrow steep trail we stop for lunch. After we rest we continue the hike before treking down Condor Gulch Trail back to the Bear Gulch Nature Center to catch the shuttle back to our cars.

After our hike we head to Morgan Hill for something cool and sweet! We have yogurt at Fro-Yo. We had a successful hike despite the hot weather. Thanks for everyone for joining us on our ourdoor adventure. More to come in the future!

  • Waiting for the shuttle: Alan, Julie, Louie, Kelly, and Brian

  • Waiting for the shuttle: Louie, Toby and Julie

  • Looking up at the Pinnacles from the Moses Spring Trail

  • Heading to the cave section of our hike

  • Heading to the cave section of our hike

  • Inside Bear Gulch Cave. The trail meanders over Bear Creek

  • Inside Bear Gulch Cave. The trail meanders over Bear Creek

  • Toby inside Bear Gulch Cave

  • Julie, Kelly, and Louie on the ascent through the cave

  • Julie and her head lamp in Bear Gulch Cave

  • We find light and a way out of the cave

  • Toby and Alan in Bear Gulch Cave

  • Light seeps through the ceiling of this talus cave

  • Bear Creek flows through the cave, here is a water fall inside the cave

  • The steep ascent out of the cave

  • Brian and Julie at Bear Gulch Resevoir

  • Kelly, Julie, Louie and Alan at the reservoir

  • Kelly, Julie, Louie, Alan and Toby at the reservoir

  • Toby looking out east at the start of the High Peaks trail

  • Brian and Toby on one of the rocks overlooking Bear Gulch canyon

  • Julie and Louie on one of the rocks overlooking Bear Gulch canyon

  • Toby on one of the rocks. Steep drop off on edge

  • Springtime brings numerous wildflowers along the trail

  • Heading ever closer to the High Peaks section

  • The trail cuts through some rocks

  • Almost to the top, Louie gazes over the lower portion of our hike

  • Taking a much needed breather under some cool shade

  • Kelly, Louie and Alan on the challenging switchback portion of the hike

  • Louie, Toby and Alan on the challenging switchback portion of the hike

  • Almost to the top

  • At the top of Scouts Landing with views west toward Salinas Valley

  • FWEE

  • The Pinnacles hiking gang

  • The narrow steep portion of the High Peaks trail literally carved in rock

  • Great views from the High Peaks section

  • Still more steep ascent up

View of the Balconies and Machete Ridge rock formations as seem from High Peaks trail.

  • Louie made it to the top!

  • A cute squirrel visits during our lunch break

  • View over Condor Gulch from the very top of our hike

  • One way trail hugs the rock walls

  • One way trail hugs the rock walls

  • Now on the ascent down from the peaks

  • Julie and Alan after the steep rock steps down

  • Pretty poppies along Condor Gulch trail heading downhill

  • Pretty poppies along Condor Gulch trail heading downhill

  • Look back at the High Peaks

  • Pretty succulent blossom coming right out of the rocks

  • Louie resting in the back seat on our drive home

  • Beautiful green hills south of Hollister

  • Alan and Toby.. who is looking at the road?

  • Brian, Jules and Kelly in the car ahead of us