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New NP in California
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Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
New NP in California on 01/01/2013 09:04:12 MST Print View

In one of the less publicized developments in Washington over the past week, the Senate unanimously (!) passed legislation to make the Pinnacles a National Park. The bill only needs the signature of President Obama, which should be a formality, to go into effect.


Since I grew up quite near the Pinnacles, this spot holds a special place in my heart---and I heartily recommend that you visit it. An amazing place with wonderful hikes. I particularly remember one hike during my college years when I reached the top of the crest to see the clouds all beneath me--and a clear shot to the Sierra towering over the far side of the Central Valley. And then the wind began to blow...and the clouds below began to send tiny snowflakes up the cliff and into my face. Yes, it was snowing uphill.

That was also the trip I hiked the caves trail without a flashlight. Pitch black, with a swiftly running creek, deep crevices, and low overhangs. Quite the adventure. Not recommended!


The trails here do involve a little more exposure and effort than in most parks

What a great way to start the New Year!


The photos here capture only a part of the charm of this area. And while the summer can be brutally hot, the spring brings lush growth to the canyons and stunning wildflowers.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Pinnacles on 01/01/2013 09:39:13 MST Print View

Neat place. I completed a few hikes there about a decade ago. Been meaning to get back someday.

I wonder if the switch from national monument to national park will bring any changes to the park's infrastructure, rules, level of activity, etc?

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Pinnacles on 01/01/2013 09:53:27 MST Print View

This is from a hike in November.









Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Condors on 01/01/2013 14:53:09 MST Print View

As you may know, California Condors almost went extinct thirty years ago, and the remaining specimens were trapped and placed into zoos or else a captive breeding program. Lately, the captive breeding program has had enough good luck that the total number of living condors got up to the several hundreds. So, they wanted to reintroduce the birds into their normal habitat. One such reintroduction spot is within the boundaries of the Pinnacles. The wildlife biologists placed one adult male bird with a bunch of young adolescent birds in a flight pen. That way the adult could teach the young'uns how to tear their meat apart, preen their feathers, and all of that birdy stuff. Then the young birds were released to soar over the same hills where their ancestors soared. Each released bird is equipped with a GPS device, a telemetry transmitter, and an indentification number tag. It is not uncommon to be hiking over the High Peaks Trail and have a bird with a ten-foot wingspan soar right over your head. Don't worry, they do not eat live food.

Oh, this is your federal tax dollars at work.


Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Possible backpacking in Pinnacles on 01/01/2013 20:43:23 MST Print View

Love Pinnacles, don't get there often enough.

Unfortunately, backpacking is not allowed in Pinnacles.

Fortunately, we have until January 11, 2013, to comment on the new draft long-term management plan for Pinnacles.

Alternatives C and D (the preferred alternative) both allow "backcountry camping" in specified camp sites.

a b
Re: Possible backpacking in Pinnacles on 01/02/2013 00:36:43 MST Print View

My experience circa 2008:

Very kind rangers in Pinnacles.

Went there after a long hike in the Sierra.

Was chased down on trail from the highest peak in the park and given a gallon jug of water. (true story)

A Ranger was waiting in the parking lot to make sure i made it back to my car.

Yes, they are (and have been) ready to be a national park.