Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Whenever we have the opportunity, we like to visit our nation’s parks. Pinnacles National Park is only about 75 miles from Paso Robles, east if the Salinas Valley, which made it nice day trip for us. The park is named for the pinnacles that are leftovers of the extinct Neenach Volcano that was originally located about 200 miles southeast of here, on the San Andrea Fault. The pinnacles are formed from andesite and rhyolite, both volcanic types of rock.
There are two entrances to the park, one on the east, and one on the west. It’s not possible to drive across the park from either entrance. The West Entrance is closer to Paso Robles, and gives visitors access to several trails. Normally, there is access to some caves, the Balconies Caves, but they were closed today due to vandalism that occurred in them recently. These are talus caves, formed when large chunks of rock fell and wedged into deep, narrow gorges.
The area, more than 26,000 acres, was first set aside as part of the Pinnacles Forest Reserve in 1906. It was named a National Monument in 1908. It attained National Park status over a century later, in 2013.
The park contains 32 trails of varying length and elevation gain. We hiked a couple of miles on a moderate trail. Our Minnesota legs are not used to hills, so we didn’t last as long as we had hoped to. Still, we were able to enjoy some great views today.