On the last Trail Mavens trip I went on, I made a few amazing new friends. Since we all bonded over our love for the outdoors, we decided to plan a weekend camping trip together. We chose to rent a campsite at Pinnacles National Park, a gorgeous mountainous region we were dying to explore. We only rented the campsite for one evening, but it allowed for plenty of time to venture around the park.
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon, pitched our tents, and hiked the Condor Gulch Loop. While we did not see any endangered California condors, we did get a good workout. It’s a perfect hike because you deal with the rough part in the beginning: the first half is uphill, and the second half is downhill.
While we didn’t see any critters on Saturday, we had a stubborn little visitor show up at our campsite Sunday morning. Despite our efforts to shoo him away, our new raccoon friend refused to leave.
We also saw a family of deer grazing in the middle of the campground. They saw me taking photos of them and were surprisingly unafraid, perfectly at peace.
That afternoon, we hiked the Bear Gulch Cave Trail to Bear Gulch Reservoir. My friends and I had no idea what to expect, but these caves certainly exceeded our hopes and expectations. If you make it out to Pinnacles, don’t miss this beautiful but daring hike (and be prepared to climb lots of stairs).
Pinnacles National Park, just a two-hour drive south of San Francisco, is a very underrated park. I was surprised I hadn’t heard more about it, and now I’m eager to return!