1908: National Monument
Rating (1-5): Unrated
About the SiteThis monument preserves the rock formations knows as "The Pinnacles", talus caves, and wilderness areas. The spires and crags that inspired this park's name are the remains of ancient volcanic activity that's part of the long geologic history of the San Andreas Rift Zone. Pinacles is on the Pacific Plate; its sister rock is on the North American plate. Over 23 million years, Pinnacles has moved 195 miles northwest as the plates have shifted.
What You're Going to SeeThere are trails to hike, and caves to explore. It's plenty hot in the summertime, with temperatures exceeding 110 degrees fahrenheit, so carry plenty of water. In the fall, bat viewings is popular. The park is separated into an east and a west side; no road connects the two sides, so be sure to know what you want to visit before planning your trip.
Because of erosion, and the passing of millions of years, the current pinnacles and spires are just 1/3 the height of the original volcano that created them.
Personal ObservationsI haven't been here yet, although it's not far from my wife's home town. So I have hope to see it on a California trip one day.
Getting ThereFrom San Jose, travel south on US 101 to Gilroy. There you must make a choice. To see the east part of the monument, go east on highway 156 to Hollister, then southeast on highway 25 for about 33 miles to the monument. To see the west part of Pinnacles, from Gilroy continue south on 101 to Salinas and on to Soledad, where you take highway 146 east a few miles to the monument border.
Nearby AttractionsNo National Park lies within 100 miles of Pinnacles NM. The San Francisco area is about 120 miles to the north, and holds many treasures.