Pinnacles National Park has only been a national park since 2013. Dan visited back when it was a national monument when we lived in California years ago.
It's important to know that the park has no through roads, and there are two entrances. The west entrance is obviously closer to Monterey, and has a couple of good hiking trails, but the camping and most of the services are on the east side of the park. We decided to go on a Sunday afternoon with some of Dan's friends.
If you don't have a National Parks pass, there is a fee of $15/vehicle to enter the park. We stopped at the visitor's center to get our passport stamps and pick up a map and some hiking suggestions from the rangers.You can find a map of the park online here to plan out your day.
We debated whether to take the popular but short Balconies Cave trail, or the longer High Peaks hike. Since we arrived late in the day, I convinced the men we should take the easy but interesting Balconies Cave trail and save the longer hike for a day when we had more time and cooler weather. Here are some of the views from the trail.
Just so you know, they aren't kidding when they say you will need a flashlight for the cave. Headlamps are the best because you have to do some climbing with your hands through the cave as well.
The weather was about 20 degrees warmer than on the coast, so it was a nice break from the fog and chilly "summer" weather in Monterey. We will be back again to do a longer hike next time or some camping.