Physical Environment

Geologic forces have created the landscape of Pinnacles, but a climate of hot dry summers and winter rains has also shaped the terrain. The vegetation of the park transforms each year as the rain stops and temperatures climb; hillsides go from vibrant green to golden brown within days. Many of the chaparral plants thrive when fires burn through to make room for new growth. Streams that are dry throughout the summer can flood during the winter and spring rains.

Explore the abiotic (non-living) factors that shape Pinnacles National Park below.

Scenic shot of massive, multi-layered rock formations at Pinnacles National Park.


Go back in time and learn how plate tectonics and volcanic activity formed the Pinnacles we see today.

Park visitors perch on a rock beneath the open sky on a sunny day at Pinnacles National Park.

Climate & Weather

Learn more about the climate and weather patterns that shape the natural environment at Pinnacles.

White flowers in the foreground, rolling hills covered in chaparral in the background.

Air Quality

While Pinnacles enjoys good air quality now, that may not be the case forever.

A stream flows through a narrow channel with rocks and vegetation on either side.

Water & Hydrology

Water plays an important role in the arid environment of Pinnacles.

Last updated: April 30, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

5000 Highway 146
Paicines, CA 95043


(831) 389-4486
Please call the number above for all park related inquiries. For camping questions contact the Pinnacles Campground at (831) 200-1722. For the park book store, please call (831) 389-4485.

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