Temporary Operational Guidelines

Paicines, CA – Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health authorities, Pinnacles National Park is increasing recreational access to east side of the park located near Hollister, CA. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning 6/6/20, Pinnacles National Park will open:

  • The parking lot on the east side of the park to vehicles. Once the parking area fills, vehicles will be not be allowed to form a line to wait for available spaces. Visitors are encouraged to arrive before 11 a.m. and after 3:30 p.m. if they wish to park inside the park. Due to increased wildland fire danger, parking along the roadside outside the park boundary is highly discouraged.
  • The park road past the campground remains closed to vehicular traffic. Visitors may bike and/or hike from the campground further into the park. Expect to hike/bike an additional 2.3 miles each way. Bicycles are not permitted on park trails. Bike racks are located near all trailheads for the convenience of park visitors.
  • The Park is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Day-use visitors are expected to enter and depart the park between these times.

In addition, entry fees are waived, and the following spaces continue to be available:

  • The west entrance located outside Soledad, CA is open to vehicles, with the same restrictions on capacity – when the lots fill and no additional vehicles will be allowed into the park until multiple parking spaces are available. Visitor are encouraged to come early or in the late afternoon.
  • The campground (accessible through the east entrance) remains open to campers with existing reservations, which can be made online at Recreation.gov before arrival.

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:

  • Nature and Visitor Centers remain closed.
  • Shuttle services inside the park remain non-operational.
  • The cave trails remain closed.

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Pinnacles National Park, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

Frequently Asked Questions

The West entrance (Soledad side) of the park is open to vehicles. Once the parking lots are full no more vehicles will be allowed in. You must enter the park between the hours of 7:30 am and 8:00 pm
The East entrance (Hollister side) is open to vehicles up until the Visitor Center/campground. The hours of operation are between 7:30 am and 8:00 pm, 7 days a week.
Yes, if you have a mobility impairment and have a disability placard you can still enter the park in a vehicle. You will still have access to all the public parking areas within the park. The placard must be visible on your car at all times.
On the East side of the park visitors should expect a 2.3 mile hike to get to the Bear Gulch day use area and Old Pinnacles trailhead (note: this distance is one-way only).
The East Side Visitor Center, West Side Contact Station, and Bear Gulch Nature Center are closed until further notice.

The road past the campground will be closed until further notice. There will be no shuttle service available. To access the Bear Gulch day use area and Old Pinnacles trailhead you can hike the Bench trail (2.3 miles each way). You can also ride a bike on paved roads but riding bikes on trails is prohibited.
The park book store is now open! Store hours are Wednsday through Monday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The campground store is open on a limited schedule. Please call (831) 200-1722 for more information.

All restrooms in the park are open but will be closed more frequently for cleaning. The pit toilet at Scout's Peak is closed.
Due to the confined nature of some areas in the park, the following trails are closed until further notice:

- The Bear Gulch caves
- The Balconies caves
There are still many trails to explore and hike in the park:

- The Reservoir can still be accessed via the Moses Spring to Rim trail loop.
- The High Peaks loop can be completed in its entirety.
- You can access the Bear Gulch day use area and the Old Pinnacles trailhead from the campground by hiking the Bench trail (2.3 miles each way)
- You can access the South Wilderness trail via the Bench trail
- You can access the North Wilderness trail via the Old Pinnacles trail
- You can hike around the Balconies caves by taking the Balconies cliffs trail
- You can reach South Chalone peak and North Chalone peak from the Reservoir

Due to the confined nature of the caves, both the Bear Gulch caves and Balconies caves are closed until further notice.
The West entrance is open to vehicles and visitors can drive in to day hike. The East entrance to Pinnacles is open to vehicular access up to the Visitor Center/campground. Once the parking lots are full we will not be allowing any vehicles into the park for the remainder of the day. If you have a disabled placard you will be allowed to drive all the way to the end of the road.
The campground is still open to people with camping reservations. No walk-ups are available. You can make a reservation online at www.recreation.gov. You must have a copy of the reservation (either on paper or on a mobile device) to show the ranger on duty at the entrance. You can only enter the park between the hours of 7:30 am and 8:00 pm.

*If your group plans to arrive separately each party must have a copy of the registration confirmation to show the ranger.
Please check all shelter-in-place orders for your state/county as well as any orders for counties you will be passing through on your way to the park for guidance.
We will not be collecting fees for entry into the park until further notice. Campground reservations must be made online and paid before entering the park.

People who choose to visit Pinnacles National Park during this pandemic are encouraged to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, the NPS urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.

Last updated: July 31, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

5000 Highway 146
Paicines, CA 95043


(831) 389-4486
To contact the Pinnacles Campground, please call (831) 200-1722.

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