Pinnacles National Park

Photo Credits: Mason Cummings, NPS

Now only about 80 miles south of San Francisco, the rocky spires that give Pinnacles National Park (formerly Pinnacles National Monument) its name are part of a 23 million year old volcano that originated 195 miles farther south near Lancaster, California! Movement of the Pacific Plate along nearby San Andreas Fault over the millennia has shifted these rocks to their current location. These unique rock formations are not only beautiful; they are extremely popular with local rock climbers.

First set aside as Pinnacles Forest Reserve in 1906, it was officially designated as Pinnacles National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. In 1976, 15,985 acres were designated as the Pinnacles Wilderness area. In 2013 its name was officialy changed to Pinnacles National Park. The diversity of ecosystems at Pinnacles provide a home to numerous plant and animal species. Approximately 16% of California’s flora is found in Pinnacles, throughout chaparral, oak woodlands, riparian corridors and rocky scree environments. Some of the park's more notable wildlife residents include about 400 species of bees, Townsend's big-eared bats, Prairie and Peregrine Falcons, and re-introduced endangered California Condors, which were once extinct in the wild.