Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park

Planning Your Visit

Operating Hours & Seasons

Unlike many national parks, Pinnacles National Monument is most popular in the spring and fall. During the spring, high temperatures are usually in the 60s and 70s, though nights can be chilly, with lows in the 30s and 40s. Fall temperatures are similar.

If you do come in the summer, please be prepared for highs in the 100s. Temperatures can swing as much as 60 degrees during the day, and cool mornings can turn into extremely hot days. Plan short hikes in the mornings or evenings, wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing, and above all, carry and drink plenty of water.

The monument is open for day use every day of the year. Please remember that camping is only allowed in the Pinnacles Campground on the east side of the park. Backpacking is not permitted.

East Entrance
The east side of the monument is open 24 hours a day for hiking. Pinnacles Campground offers tent, RV, and group campsites. Reservations can be made online at www.recreation.gov.

West Entrance
An automatic gate at the west entrance of the monument opens each morning at 7:30 and closes each night at 8 p.m. Park visitors will be able to leave the park after the gate is closed, but cars will not be able to enter. This will allow for late hiking and climbing. Please remember that camping is not allowed on the west side of the park. 

Fees & Reservations

Upon arrival at the park, please check in at an entrance station, visitor center, or ranger station to get a receipt for the windshield of your vehicle. If you are a passholder, please check in or place your pass on your dashboard signature side up. For camping reservations, please visit www.recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777.

Single Visit Entrance Fees

Vehicle: $5
This fee covers entrance by vehicle to both districts of the monument for seven days, and is valid for everyone in the vehicle.

Walk-in: $3
This fee covers park entrance by foot and bicycle. Children under 16 do not need to pay.

Passes

Pinnacles Annual Pass: $15
This pass is valid for 12 months from the month of purchase.

Accessibility

Does Pinnacles National Monument have ADA accessible facilities and activities?
Yes. The visitor contact centers and restrooms on both the east and west sides of the monument are fully ADA accessible. Parking areas have marked handicap spaces convenient to facilities. Picnic areas can be wheelchair accessed with assistance.

What information does Pinnacles National Monument have for persons who are visually impaired?
Pinnacles National Monument has a park brochure available in braille. If you would like a copy of the brochure, please call the park at (831)389-4485. The park also has a tactile map of the entire monument in the Bear Gulch Nature Center on the east side of the park.

Trails
Because much of the monument's terrain is steep and rocky, trail access for visitors with mobility impairments is limited. A section of the Bench Trail has recently been hardened and graded for wheelchair access. This gently rolling trail passes through oak woodlands and offers views of the High Peaks rock formation. The trailhead is at the Peaks View Picnic Area near the east entrance of the monument. The Chaparral area near the west entrance offers views of Pinnacles' most spectacular geological formations directly from or near the parking area. With a bit of assistance, wheelchair users may loop through the Chaparral Picnic Area and above the parking area. This loop will reward visitors with excellent views of the High Peaks, Balconies Cliffs and Machete Ridge.

Directions

No Through Road
When driving to Pinnacles National Monument, please keep in mind that there is no road that connects the east and west entrances of the park. The shortest route from the east entrance to the west entrance (or from west to east) is through the town of King City on Hwy 101.

Directions from the North
From the San Francisco Bay Area to the East Entrance
Take Hwy 101 south through the city of Gilroy to Hwy 25 south. On Hwy 25, go through the town of Hollister and continue about 30 miles to Hwy 146. Turn right on Hwy 146, and follow it to the Pinnacles entrance station. If the entrance station is closed, please continue to the park visitor center to check in.

From the San Francisco Bay Area to the West Entrance
Take Hwy 101 south to the town of Soledad, and then take Hwy 146 east. Take care as you're driving through town; the highway takes a few turns. Follow Hwy 146 for 14 miles into Pinnacles National Monument.

From the South
To the East Entrance
Take Hwy 101 North to the town of King City. Exit at 1st Street. Turn right toward King City. Continue straight until 1st St turns into Bitterwater Rd (Monterey County G13). Follow Bitterwater Rd until it intersects Hwy 25. Turn left on Hwy 25 (North) and follow for ~15 miles. Turn left onto Hwy 146 to enter the monument.

To the West Entrance
Take Hwy 101 North to the town of Soledad, and then take Hwy 146 east. Take care as you're driving through town; the highway takes a few turns. Follow Hwy 146 for 14 miles into Pinnacles National Monument.

Weather

People come to Pinnacles to hike, rock climb, watch and study wildlife, view wildflowers, and experience nature. Pinnacles offers solitude, challenge, and escape from urban development.

Unlike many national parks, Pinnacles is most popular in the cooler months. During the spring, when the grasses are green and a variety of wildflowers can be seen along any trail, hiking is at its best. Fall and winter are also excellent times to visit.

During the summer, extreme temperatures can make hiking uncomfortable at best, and possibly dangerous for those who are unprepared. If you plan to visit Pinnacles during the months of July or August, please check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Carrying and drinking at least a liter of water per hour per person is recommended during hot weather.