For those meeting us at the Pinnacle's Visitor's Center, we will be there at 9:00 am, accessed from the east entrance gate off Highway 25.
Pinnacles National Monument is located along the east side of the Salinas Valley between Hollister and Coalinga along Highway 25. It is a 3 hour drive from Bakersfield to the entrance, Highway 146, off of Highway 25.
From the Albertson's at Allen and Rosedale, we will take Rosedale/Hwy 58 west to I-5 north. We will take I-5 to the Jayne Ave exit near Coalinga. West on Jayne Ave until it joins with Hwy 198. We can meet Alice or other northern members here and take a break on the west side of Hwy 33 and 198 junction at Starbucks, just past the Perkos. We will than proceed west on 198 to Hwy 25. North on 25 to 146, west on 146 to the monument Visitor's Center, 5 miles in. After checking in at the Visitor's Center we will then proceed to Bear Gulch Day Use Area and parking lot.
If anyone wants to eat on the return trip, Harris Ranch is at the junction of Hwy 5 and 198.
A Park Service fee of $5 per vehicle must be paid if no one in your vehicle has a Park Pass. CORRECTION: VETERAN'S DAY WEEKEND, 11/10/ THROUGH 11/12/12 IS A FREE ENTRANCE WEEKEND!
Once in the Monument we will stop at the Pinnacles Visitor Center to use rest rooms and verify our Hiking Plan. We will then proceed to the Bear Gulch Day Use Area where we leave the vehicles. From this point we start a succession of loop hikes, depending on abilities, weather, and time, that are:
2.2 miles with 500' gain, on the Moses Spring-Rim Trail Loop, includes Bear Gulch Cave and Bear Gulch Reservoir;
6.1 miles with 1300' gain, combining the Moses Spring/Rim Trails with the High Peaks Trail and returning along the Condor Gulch Trail, including a walk through the heart of the Pinnacles rock formations; or an
8 mile loop with 1500' gain, bypassing Condor Gulch Trail and taking the High Peaks Trail to Bench Trail and Bear Gulch Trail back to the Day Use Area.
Click here to go to a map showing these trails.
Hiking Plan: From the Bear Gulch Day Use Area, our route will go clockwise, first hiking the Moses Spring and Rim Trails where we pass through a talus cave. Bear Gulch cave is partially open. A protected colony of Townsend's big-eared bats is occupying the upper-portion of the cave. A flashlight is required in the cave! If needed, a trail around the cave is available. We then proceed to the Bear Gulch Reservoir, and the Rim Trail where we start the High Peaks trail to the top of the monument and the pinnacles!
High Peaks-Condor Gulch Loop is a 5.3 mile loop, 3 to 5 hours with an elevation gain of 1,300 feet. The Park Service rates this hike strenuous. This loop is a walk through the heart of the Pinnacles rock formations, particularly on the steep and narrow section of the High Peaks Trail. An alternate route around the "steep and narrow" section is available along the Juniper Canyon and Tunnel Trails. This route is .5 miles longer, 1.2 miles instead of .7 miles on the High Peaks Trail. A side trip to Hawkins Peak for a peakbag looks possible to add about half mile if time allows.
After walking through the Pinnacle formations and hiking to Hawkins Peak there is the third option for those who want to hike further. After descending down to the Bench and Bear Gulch Trails, we will be walking along the Chalone and Bear Creeks for the final 1.6 miles.
Things to bring:
A flashlight or head lamp, lunch, 2 liters water, regular day hiking gear.
Click here to see NOAA's predicted weather for the Pinnacles Natinal Monument.
*** WAIVER OF LIABILITY *** The Organizers, and members in this group are not professional leaders, guides, or mountaineers. The function of the member or organizer is only to organize the trip. Each person who shows up for a trip/meetup (and their guest or guests) is responsible for his or her own safety. By attending a hike, or any other event organized by this group, you are acknowledging that you and any guests that you bring are aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with the activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the Organizers, Members of the Kern River Valley Hiking Club - Tulare-Kern Peakbags & Hikes from and against any and all liability arising from your participation in the group activities.