Saturday, February 28, 2004 Pinnacles National Monument


Wimble Scale: Difficult, Length: 5.3 miles, Climb: 1800 feet, Time: 3.5 hours

The Announcement

This Saturday, February 28, is a new hike for most of us, including me -- Pinnacles National Monument.

Plan on over 2 hours to get there, at least 3 to 4 hours to hike, and more than 2 to get back again - this is going to be a long day with lots of hard hiking.

Look at for a partial map of getting there and the hiking trails. We'll be coming in from the East Entrance. We'll make the actual trail plan once we get there, take advice from those who know the area, and see what things look like.

Bring a flashlight. Some of the caves require a flashlight, some are easily flooded and may be closed. It looks like some people may not want to navigate the caves as some of them require scrambling through tight fits.

Bring waterproof shoes, as some trails have on order of 6 stream crossings without bridges. NO SNEAKERS.

Bring plenty of water, a meal, snacks, sunblock, and layers of clothing. Be prepared for hot and cold, dry and wet.

Some pictures from other sites:

A potential hiking map:

We leave here 7:30. Yes, I didn't know there even was a 7:30 in the morning. We start the hike a bit before 10, we hope. With luck, we'll leave the park by 3-ish and be back home by 6-ish, depending on if we stop for eats on the way back.

Some driving instructions from another web site:

Take Highway 101 South past Gilroy. Turn left onto 25 to Hollister. Follow the signs and stay on highway 25. About 30 miles south of Hollister, take a right onto highway 146. Note that you cannot access the East Side of the park from Soledad. Please, consult a map for details on how to get to the park. There is a 4-dollar access fee per car.

The Hike

Now, was last weekend's hike at Pinnacles a hike or what? Several of the hikers had been there before, but for most, it was the first time. The topography is unlike anything we've hiked before, and will definitely be on our must-do list every year from now on. I'm tempted to go back again this year, after the floods recede, to view the caves and do those stream crossings. The ranger said the streams were knee deep and the caves were thigh deep with water. The vote was that we didn't want to see Dave strip to go through the water, so we took the dry trails.

Kathy and I both had sore thighs the next day, but we don't know why. Sore calves, I could understand. When you see the pictures, you'll see just how steep and narrow some of the trails were. Actually, you don't really see the narrowest parts. I was nearly on my knees, banged my elbow, and scraped my backpack trying to get through one of the passes.

We believe we saw condors. We definitely saw vultures, falcons, hawks, and woodpeckers. The squirrels down by the visitor's center were extremely friendly. Kathy did her squirrel call and had them flocking near her.

Dinner at the Black Bear restaurant in Gilroy was also great. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

For the gallery of Michael's pictures from the hike, click HERE.

For the gallery of Norman's pictures from the hike, click HERE.

Other Resources Here

This is the FOMFOK Hiking group located in the San Francisco Bay Area
We hike every weekend, with a mixture of easy, medium, and hard hikes.
We do waterfall hikes early in the year, wildflower hikes in the spring,
and work up the the challenge hike and party in the fall.
Click HERE to go to the FOMFOK home page
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