WEEKEND CAMPING TRIP IN PINNACLES NATIONAL PARK
TRIP · 3-day car camping trip
FOR · Friends & first-time campers
VIBE · Challenging & rewarding
COST · $
DRIVE · 2.5 hours from SF
IDEAL DATES · March - May | September - October
PETS · Allowed at camp, not on trails
Pinnacles National Park (PNP) is the newest national park in California, but its infamous rock formations are more than 23 million years old. What's left from volcanic activity has become a popular destination for rock climbers, cave divers & campers. The park only has 30 miles of trails, so backpacking isn't allowed, but come for the otherworldly rocks and stay for the stargazing.
STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW
Map of Pinnacles National Park
EACH CAMPSITE COMES WITH:
- A picnic table
- A fire pit
- Space for up to six people
- Two parking spots
- Food storage locker
- Trash collection (on site)
BOOK A SPOT AT PINNACLES CAMPGROUND
Pinnacles Campground is the only place to camp within the park, but it has everything. Nestled among oak trees on the eastern side of the park, this comfy campground has tent, RV, group campsites & tent cabins available. There are restrooms, drinking water, hot showers (for a fee), a general store (for ice & firewood), and a swimming pool (open from April - September) on site. You can reserve a spot up to six months ahead so be sure to swoop one while they're still available!
Check-in: After 1 PM | Check-out: 11 AM
Quiet hours: 10 PM to 6 AM
View Campground Map
Nightly Rate: $49
Buy a 7-day vehicle entrance fee for $30 online before your trip
Pack your sunscreen and a jacket because temperatures drastically change from morning to night.
There isn't a way to drive across the park so plan accordingly! (Pinnacles Campground is on the eastern side)
Wear face masks, socially distance, and recreate responsibly!
LEAVE SF BY 11 AM & GRAB SOME
VIETNAMESE FOOD AT HUE RESTAURANT
- Diners love their authentic Banh Beos, steamed rice cakes
- Located at 3005 Silver Creek Rd. Ste. 190 in San Jose
Open everyday| 11 AM - 8 PM |10 AM - 9 PM on weekends
LAST PIT STOP · Safeway Fuel Station - 591 Tres Pinos Road in Hollister
CHECK IN & SETTLE IN AT
- Set up camp, wander around the campground & relax
OR IF YOU'RE FEELING AMBITIOUS, HIKE BENCH TRAIL FOR A TASTE OF THE PINNACLES
- A moderate 4.8 mile round-trip hike from Pinnacles Campground
- Pack plenty of water & snacks for this trek
- On weekends and later parts of the day, this trail can get crowded
RETURN TO CAMP FOR A SUNSET DINNER
- Prep dinner, s'mores & enjoy an evening of drinking & stargazing
GET A SUNRISE START, GRAB BREKKIE, AND PREP FOR A DAY HIKE ALONG HIGH PEAKS TRAIL LOOP
- Aim to get to the parking lot by 7:30 AM because spots fill up fast, plus temperatures will be cooler to hike in during the morning
- Pack a daypack with snacks, sunscreen, sunhat, jacket & plenty of water
- This is a strenuous 5.5 round-trip hike with 1,630 ft. of elevation gain. There isn't a lot of shade for the first half of the trail so plan accordingly!
- Park at Bear Gulch Visitor Center and start hiking along Condor Gulch Trail (look out for CA condors!)
- Condor Gulch Trail -> High Peaks Trail -> Rim Trail
- Rim Trail -> Moses Spring Trail -> High Peaks Trail (swing by Bear Gulch Cave if it's open!)
RETURN TO CAMP FOR AN AFTERNOON PICNIC
- Prep a picnic lunch & chillax around camp
- If it's open, jump into the pool!
GRILL UP DINNER
- Prep a delicious meal and warm up with your favorite hot bevvie.
- Roast up s'mores & soak up your last night in Pinnacles!
COOK UP BREKKIE, PACK UP
& CHECK OUT BEFORE 11 AM
👀 Clean up around camp & throw away any random pieces of litter
PAY IT FORWARD LIKE BEZZI
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