walkhighlands

This board helps you to share your walking route experiences in England and Wales... or overseas.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Pinnacles National Monument - USA

Pinnacles National Monument - USA


Postby Steve B » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:01 pm

Date walked: 17/06/2012

Time taken: 6

Distance: 10.75 km

Ascent: 1750m

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

I was working over in The US in the Bay area and was going to be out there for a weekend so did a bit of research on some hiking. A colleague from Vienna more used to the Alps was there too so we would be able to do some good walking.
The weekend turned turned out to be one the hottest ones with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Saturday was spent on mountain bikes going across the Golden Gate Bridge and off-roading on the Marin Headlands.
I had found an area called Pinnacles National Monument which is about 2 hours south of San Jose and more or less directly inland from Big Sur. This was an alternative to the original thoughts of Yosemite, but being at least 4 hours driving and probably very busy, we opted for the Pinnacles.
We arrived at the ‘trailhead’, as it was described , at the western side of the park about 08:00 and daubed on plenty of factor 50 although much of the damage had already been done the day before.
1 - At the trailhead.JPG

The walk in was pleasant in the shade and the track very easy to follow being well made up. It went along a dry stream bed for a mile or so amongst scrubby ground and trees that is called Chapparal. Eventually the path gained height twisting uphill through trees and rocks. The rocks are volcanic, the site being right on the San Andreas Fault, and are worn in to all sorts of shapes. An interesting walk up with various birds putting appearances, notably California Condor and Turkey Vultures, and several small mammals.
2 - Easy walking in the shade.JPG

3 - Sun coming over the rocks.JPG

The trail leads to a fork and we opted for the tunnel route which went through said tunnel up to the high peaks trail.
4 - Getting higher and into the rocks.JPG

5 - More views.JPG

6 - More views.JPG

7 - Typical scenery.JPG

This was a highlight as it twisted through the rocks along ledges and steps cut into the rocks with rails for aid or to prevent falls. It was not dangerous but hard work as the heat was building up already. The large raptors were soaring amongst the pinnacles and came very close on occasions, a great sight to see.
8 - Typical path.JPG

9 - Some steeper narrow bits.JPG

10 - More cut steps etc.JPG

11 - More steps.JPG

We came to the break of the high peaks trail that led to the eastern side of the park and headed towards Bear Gulch Reservoir.
12 - Looking down to the other side.JPG

Here there was a small snake swimming in the shallows hunting frogs and pied swifts and martens with green backs flying around.
13 - Reservoir on the route.JPG

After a rest here we headed down the Bear Gulch Trail towards the visitor centre. The path starts by diving into a short section of Talus cave, formed by rock falls. Areas of this were closed to allow peace for the bats that were breeding within.
14 - The path goes underground.JPG

15 - The path goes through a cave.JPG

We arrived at the visitor centre a little after midday and stocked up on water.
16 - Emerging into the light.JPG

The long walk up the Condor Gulch Trail followed that lead back to the High Peaks trail. This was a hard slog in the heat with little in the way of shade.
Having got to the High Peaks trail we repeated the section with the steps and ledges, good fun, and cot to the Juniper Canyon trail and down towards the car.
17 - The path heading back to the start.JPG

Along the start of this route we passed a Rattlesnake curled up in a small hollow. The picture did not turn out so well but I did not fancy getting close enough for the macro.
18 - Rattlesnake.JPG

I would recommend anyone to spend a bit of time here. The spring is supposed to be the best time with an array of flowers etc, but what I experienced was great.
Steve B
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 277
Munros:238   Corbetts:7
Hewitts:53
Wainwrights:26   Islands:9
Joined: Oct 25, 2010
Location: Glasgow

Re: Pinnacles National Monument - USA

Postby ChrisW » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:31 pm

Great report Steve, good to see a bit of California again. I always find those Turkey Vultures a bit unnerving as they follow you along the trail circling overhead :lol: Glad you included the rattler at the end, well worth it I think and I fully understand your thoughts on not getting any closer :lol:
User avatar
ChrisW
Scrambler
 
Posts: 4940
Munros:18   Corbetts:5
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada

Re: Pinnacles National Monument - USA

Postby Steve B » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:53 am

Great report Steve, good to see a bit of California again. I always find those Turkey Vultures a bit unnerving as they follow you along the trail circling overhead Glad you included the rattler at the end, well worth it I think and I fully understand your thoughts on not getting any closer


Thanks Chris. It is not often you actually get to see anything when working so this was a real treat.
Steve B
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 277
Munros:238   Corbetts:7
Hewitts:53
Wainwrights:26   Islands:9
Joined: Oct 25, 2010
Location: Glasgow

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Outside Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests