Bay Area Day Trips - Pinnacles National Park

We love National Parks and California has the maximum number of National Parks among all the states in the US. I feel lucky to have gotten the chance to live here and we try to make the best of our time by visiting as many parks as we can. So far, we have visited all the National Parks in California except the Joshua Tree National Park. The National Park that is closest to Bay Area is the Pinnacles National Park, which is among the newest additions to the National Park system. It has some cool rock formations and decent hikes and is within a couple of hours of driving distance from the Bay Area. 

High Peaks Trail during sunset
Having lived in Arizona for 4 years and hiked in Zion and Bryce National Parks along with Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon, the rock formations in this National Park did not  particularly catch our eye. However, the hike to the Balconies cave was interesting and would recommend doing it with a headlamp.

The trail head for the Balconies cave is located at the Old Pinnacle Trail head. The trail is mostly flat and after a couple of miles, you have to climb over a number of boulders to get to the entrance of the cave. This is where it gets interesting as it is dark in the cave and there are several twists and turns and crossing of boulders, so a headlamp is essential even during the day. However, this portion of the hike was closed due to flooding when we went there but I heard cool things about it. We did the High Peaks trail instead which has good views of the Park especially during sunset.

It is best viewed in spring when the weather is cooler and there is still water in the streams and flowers to enhance the beauty.

So, if you live in the area, pick a pleasant day and head out to this Park for a picnic or a hike.


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