This is another long overdue post! So I found out about Pinnacles National Park a while ago when I was browsing Yelp/Google for things to do on Black Friday. I mean, why wait in ridiculous lines at the mall when you could be outside exploring? From South Bay, Pinnacles is just a short 1.5-hour drive (without traffic, that is). Well, turns out, everyone else had the exact same idea. The parking lot inside the park was completely full, so we had to park outside and wait for the shuttle. Granted, we did get there around 1pm in the afternoon…
Anyway, for those of you who don’t already know, I’m not a fan of hiking. I wasn’t planning to hike at Pinnacles. Not seriously, at least. In fact, I had a Friendsgiving dinner later that evening so I had curled my hair already. Was NOT planning on sweating. You can probably guess what happened…The shuttle that runs through the park comes once every 15-20 minutes. It doesn’t seat very many people, either. So after waiting in the shuttle line for a good 10-12 minutes, I decided that we might as well just hike into the park ourselves. I mean, how bad could it be, right? I asked the lady at the visitor center for directions, and she pointed me towards a trail right off the parking lot entrance. 3 miles? No problem. WRONG. Big problem. I totally underestimated the distance. Especially given that it was all uphill. I also didn’t realize that you have to hike another 1.5 miles or so when you get inside the park. But I guess that depends on where you want to go and what you want to see. Pretty sure the 1.5-mile trail was the shortest one, though. So…an hour in, I was drenched in sweat. Wasn’t wearing hiking appropriate clothes either. I had shoes, though, thank goodness! Was breaking in my boots for Iceland.
The views going up were pretty great. Almost made the whole ordeal worth. Still not a fan of hiking, though. I also don’t know where people go in the park. Given how crowded the parking lot was, I expected the trails to be packed! But we only ran into a few people here ant there. Maybe they all know something that I don’t. But I clearly didn’t plan very well. We also didn’t even make it to the top. SO SAD, I know. We kept asking people for directions along the trail. The first couple we asked told us we had about another 15 minutes to go before reaching the top. The next couple we asked about 15 minutes later said we had about 15 minutes to go. The person we asked after that (~5 minutes later) said we had another 10 minutes to go. So we rage-quitted and headed back down. And took the shuttle back, thank god. Maybe I’ll go back someday to see what we missed. All in all, still a pretty good Black Friday. I guess it was worth! Sort of 🙂
- Try to get there early in the morning
- Unless you’re prepared, don’t attempt to hike into the park. If there’s no parking, take the shuttle
- Budget at least 3-4 hours so you’re not super rushed
- Don’t do your hair if there’s even the slightest chance of having to hike