Copyright © 2010 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.
Pinnacles National Monument
San Benito County
This is on the Bear Gulch Cave Trail. I waited for a friend who went through the cave here then we proceeded up Rim Trail to High Peaks Trail. Up at Scout Peak we looked through the Ranger’s telescope at cliff across the valley to view a Condor nest with a male Condor sitting on an egg. The Ranger told us the Female and Male Condors take turns sitting on the egg.
They trade places about every 3 days.
From here we hiked up the High Peaks Trail or the Steep and Narrow trail across the High Peaks and down to Old Pinnacles Trail to Bench Trail to finally arrive back at Bear Gulch parking lot.
Total miles- 7.1
Total ascent 1600 ft.
A challenging hike. One I plan to do again.
For the History buffs-
Pinnacles National Monument
The difference is immediately apparent. Rock spires, ramparts, and crags that bear no resemblance to the nearby foothills dominate the landscape. Massive monoliths, sheer-walled canyons, and boulder-covered caves define millions of years of erosion, faulting, and tectonic plate movement.
Rising out of the chaparral-covered Gabilan Mountains, east of central California’s Salinas Valley, are the spectacular remains of an ancient volcano. Or part of the remains, for the rest of this
volcano lies 195 miles to the southeast. Does this seem impossible? It is part of the story of the San Andreas Fault Zone, which runs just east of the park, and of the geological forces that have shaped this landscape for millions of years.
It is the story of heat, frost, water, and wind wearing away rock. Fault action and earthquakes also account for the talus caves, another Pinnacles attraction. Deep, narrow gorges were transformed into caves when boulders toppled from above and wedged among the rock walls. These boulders form ceilings and areas of darkness, enticing visitors and many species of bats. The topography of the Pinnacles is not all spires and crags. Elevations range form 824 feet long along Chalone Creek to 3,304 feet atop North Chalone Peak, and much of the park consists of rolling hills. To safeguard these rock formations and caves, Pinnacles was proclaimed a national monument in 1908. Today the park encompasses over 26,000 acres, including some 16,000 acres designated as wilderness. The park protects native plants and animals, historic features, recreational opportunities, and open space in an increasingly urban setting.
Pinnacles is a place for rejuvenation. People come to appreciate the unspoiled wilderness, hike the trails, climb the rock walls, explore quiet caves, stargaze in clear night skies, and picnic or camp in the shade of the ancient oaks.
~National Park Service
US Department of the Interior