Caves of Pinnacles National Park

During one of my trips to Hollister Hills SVRA I’ve noticed a sign showing direction to Pinnacles National Park. I’ve never heard of it before, but decided that we should check it out one day. Las week we’ve finally decided to visit it. Quick online search showed that there are trails that go through caves. This sounds like a nice family adventure. So we woke up early Saturday, packed and took of at about 9am.

Here an advice for you, plan your trip so that you get there by 9.30. Park opens at 9.30, we’ve arrived at 10 and there was almost no parking left.

The entrance fee is $15 dollars. As we had some more National parks trips planned for this year, we’ve upgraded it to yearly National Parks pass ($80). You can pay for the pass and get the map at the visitor/information center. There is also a campground right next to it.

On April 2 the campground was full.

Our truck enter the national park, but we didn’t go too far. Ranger stopped us right in front of the Pinnacles National Park sign and told that there was no parking available beyond this point and offered to park n the side of the road.

Pinnacles National Park Entrance

Pinnacles National Park Entrance

We have a Deuter Kids Comfort baby carrier the helped a lot when Kate was little. It was the first time Mark got into stand he enjoyed it.

Mark in Deuter Kid Comfort Backpack

Mark in Deuter Kid Comfort Backpack

After applying sunblock, we finally took off. We’ve decided to go to Bear Gulch caves and reservoir, as it seemed like a shorter hike (about 2-2.5 miles based on the map).

First part of the trail was going along the creek and had almost no shade on it.

First part of the trail was going along the creek and had almost no shade on it.

Flowers

Flowers

Flowers

Field was blooming

Then the trails tarted climbing

Then the trails tarted climbing but it also gave us shade

After about 1.2 mile of hike we’ve got to a Nature Center

Bear Gulch Nature Center

Bear Gulch Nature Center

There was a full parking lot and multiple picnic spots

There was a full parking lot and multiple picnic spots

From this point, it's about 0.7 miles to caves

From this point, it’s about 0.7 miles to caves

Bear Gulch

Bear Gulch Trail

Bear Gulch Trail

Bear Gulch Trail

Entrance to a short cave

Entrance to a short cave

Bear Gulch Trail

Bear Gulch Cave Entrance

Bear Gulch Cave Entrance

As soon as we entered the cave someone decided to drop a radio... into the water ... under the bridge ... in the cave ... Buying shockproof water resistant radios finally paid off.

As soon as we entered the cave someone decided to drop a radio… into the water … under the bridge … in the cave … Buying shockproof water resistant radios finally paid off.

The caves are well maintained, have stairs and guard rails

The caves are well maintained, have stairs and guard rails

Bear Gulch Cave

You never know when this rock is going to fall...

You never know when this rock is going to fall…

There were several places where I had to take baby backpack off and crawl through the tight place. I was pulling the backpack while Julia was pushing it from the other side

There were several places where I had to take baby backpack off and crawl through the tight place. I was pulling the backpack while Julia was pushing it from the other side

After one of tight spots

Stairs to reservoir

Stairs to reservoir

Bear Gulch reservoir

Bear Gulch Reservoir

Bear Gulch reservoir

Bear Gulch Reservoir

Bear Gulch Trail

After the reservoir we turned around. It took us about 1.5-2 hours to get here. We’ve decided to go around the caves on the way back not to go against majority of the traffic.

Kate had a lot of fun going through caves. She did amazingly well on this 5 mile hike, it's definitely her record, especially for a climb like this.

Kate had a lot of fun going through caves. She did amazingly well on this 5 mile hike, it’s definitely her record, especially for a climb like this.

Overall it was a great day trip. Everyone enjoyed it and we would definitely like to come back one day.