- Pinnacles National Park is an excellent family camping destination for the spring & fall. The park is located ~100 miles south of San Francisco between the Central Valley & the Salinas Valley. Pinnacles protects volcanic peaks, accessible caves, interesting hikes, and much wildlife including the California Condor. One large campground accessible through the East Entrance (not the west entrance) serves the park. Spring is the best time visit as the rivers are flowing and the mountains are green. Recently, five families all with young kids (ages 3-6) had a Pinnacles National Park Family camping adventure. On Saturday, we setup camp, hiked the Bench Trail adjacent to the campground. On Sunday, the shuttle (running the in the spring) to the Bear Gulch area. We traversed the Bear Gulch cave and visited the visitor center. I highly recommend Pinnacles for families & for those seeking a spot off the beaten path.
We setup camp under beautiful blue skies. We prefered the sites at the end end of the campground since they are quieter and closer to trails. Make your reservations in advance in spring since the campground was full.
Hiking the bench trail. Sometimes you just need to stop & investigate a rock.
Taking a quick break with my two boys (ages 6 & 3) while climbing the Bear Gulch Trail to the caves. We saw many rock climbers on the pinnacles surrounding us.
Entering Bear Gulch Cave. A stream ran through the middle of the cave and in some places, adults had to get on the hands and knees.