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Old 03-01-2013, 03:09 PM   #1
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Come visit Pinnacles National Park

Hello-
We are volunteering at Pinnacles National Park (East side)--this is America's newest National Park. Located about 35 miles south of Hollister, CA & 75 miles from San Francisco..you will find great hikes, talus caves, Ranger talks on the weekends and magnificent night skies.

The campground offers electric & non-electric sites with water points. You do need to bring supplies as there is only a small camp store.

Hope to see you!
Victoria & Joseph
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:43 PM   #2
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We love pinnacles - from both the east and the west side. Great place to see California Condors, and we love the hike up the high peaks trail where you are walking on a skinny little ridge chopped right out of the rock right over the edge of cliffs. The kids always love to visit the caves - which are always cool and usually have bats.

The park looks almost like a flying saucer crashed sideways into the earth - just striking rock formations that look dramatically different than the surrounding ground they are located in. I remember reading somewhere that the park today is half of an ancient volcano that was sheared in two by the San Andreas fault - with the other half somewhere down by Los Angeles, about 200 miles away.

Main advice - In the summer, it's crazy hot and the hiking is super exposed, with little shade and no water. So be prepared - or visit now when the weather has to be about perfect.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:58 PM   #3
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Questions:

* Are reservations absolutely necessary, or is there a sufficient number of first-come-first-serve sites?

* When are peak periods/dates to avoid crowds?

* What are current camping rates?

* Does Pinnacle NP give 50% discount to NP Senior Pass holders?

* What is your personal opinion of camp sites and facilities?

Thanks!
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:05 PM   #4
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1. At this time (March 1) there seem to be plenty of sites available on weekends and many sites during the wee...check on recreation.gov.
2. Peak season seems to be during Spring Break in March--usually mid March.
3. Camping fees are $36 for electric/RV sites & $23 for tent sites. Yes, it is 50% off for Senior Pass & Disabled. There are showers for $.25 for 3 minutes.
4. The tent/dry camping sites are more private but the electric/RV sites have unemcumbered night skies.
5. The facilities are adequate, the usual fare for National Parks. The camp store is fairly well stocked from good hiking sticks to potato chips. The Visitor Center has a good selection of books for adults & kids.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:10 PM   #5
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Hi guys! Nice to see your smiling faces. Looks like y'all are having fun out there. Beautiful park. Hopefully we'll see you back in Texas soon. All the best to you and Joseph.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:33 PM   #6
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I have to share my only memory of being at the Pinnacles. I was young - elementary school age - and my parents packed us in the car after my dad got off work at 5 on a friday (in So. SF) to meet other Sierra Club members at the Pinnacles for a weekend camping/hiking trip. Traffic was bad (even in 1973) and we stopped at Doggie Diner in San Jose for dinner. I had a vanilla milkshake which I upchucked in the back of our 69 Dodge Dart. (Does this tell you how the trip is going?) We got to a campground there, very late at night, it was very dark and we picked a spot, set up tents and got into them, trying not to disturb anyone.

We woke up the next morning to find ourselves in the middle of a Boy Scout encampment! (How embarrassing. I was mortified.) I think we moved.

On Saturday night, we went on a group night hike through the rocks/caves(?) and ended up at a lake/reservoir(?) - perhaps the one pictured above, and I will never forget the frogs. There must have been a million of them, all croaking. It echoed against the rocks. They'd fall silent and then start up again. It was one of those moments forever burned into my memory.

But wait, there's more! We slept outside Saturday night, and were shaken awake around 3AM to look up in the sky. Comet Kohoutek was blazing across the sky. Wow.

Whenever I drive up Hwy 101, I think about going back.

It was magical.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:35 PM   #7
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Pinnacles

Hi:

My wife and I have reservations starting 8 May for six nights in space 118. Another couple in an Airstream will be in site 117 for May 10-12. My wife has not been to Pinnacles in almost 40 years.

Paul
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Tex4Fun View Post
4. The tent/dry camping sites are more private but the electric/RV sites have unemcumbered night skies.
We've been planning to make it to Pinnacles since before it became a National Park. It looks like a lovely place. And, oh, to see a condor, that would be something!

Recreation.gov lists only RV/electric sites and "tent only" sites. Are there dry camping sites? Are boondockers allowed in the "tent only" area? From looking at the google satellite view, I'd rather stay out of the RV area. It looks like a parking lot, from the air at least. But I don't want to encroach on tent campers if they're expecting an RV free experience.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:16 PM   #9
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Love the story from Virginia--I could really picture your experience! I'm going to share it with the Rangers tomorrow.

Barbie-Yes, you can boondock in the tent sites..they are big enough for smaller RV's. The RV section does have some trees but is definitely more open than the tent sites.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:24 PM   #10
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Great! Thanks for the clarification. We hope to make it down this spring some time. How long will you two be staying there?
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:27 PM   #11
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We are here until the end of April & work (volunteer) Thursday-Sunday. When on a hike today we saw California Condors flying overhead--so majestic!
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:02 PM   #12
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Love the pictures. Love your enthusiasm. You sound so welcoming. Keep up the good work! If you take a photo of a condor in the sky I bet it wouldn't show the size or majesty like you can experience first-hand.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:33 PM   #13
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We have reservations from April 18 - 21. So excited - we've never been! Can't wait to meet you.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:34 AM   #14
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Great! We wil look forward to meeting you. We will be working in the Bear Gulch Nature Center...come see us on the your way to the Moses Spring Trail & Bear Gulch Cave.
Victoria
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