Pinnacles National Park in California
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讀萬卷書    行萬里路

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晴朗的天空, 萬里無雲,在藍天襯托下,放眼望去,遠眺 高聳壯觀的尖峰石林,矗立在
綠意盎然的草原上,一片寧靜,形成一道如畫的獨特美景, 意境非凡,  與君共賞 !

The gorgeous view as we were on Highway 146 approaching the west side of Pinnacles National
Monument in California. The drive through the beautiful scenery of vast agricultural fields was a treat
to the eyes.

In February 2006, after we completed touring the beautiful mid-section of California coast, we went to
tour the spectacular Pinnacles National Monument which is about 40 miles inland from the mid-section
of California coast. We took Highway 146 from Soledad on Highway 101 to drive east into the west
side of Pinnacles National Monument.

The territory of this national monument has been expanded and it has become a national park by
legislation passed by U S Congress in late 2012 and signed into law on January 10, 2013. It is located
at 5000 Hwy 146, Paicines, CA 95043, Phone: (831) 389-4485. It is about 5 miles  east of Soledad and
about 80 miles southeast of San Francisco.

The website of Pinnacles National Park is at:


Map: Click here for interactive Google Map showing location of Pinnacles National Park
山腳下 仰望群峰聳立,怪石嶙峋,山岩奇突多姿,粗獷豪邁壯麗石林奇景, 令人讚嘆造

The awesome High Peaks in Pinnacles National Park as viewed from the parking lot in the west side of the
National Park. The Pinnacles are named for the unusual and magnificent spire-shaped rock, rugged crag
formations and  all sorts of strange outcroppings 500 to 1,200 feet high as shown on this web page.

The Pinnacles are the eroded spectacular remains of an ancient volcano. There are various magnificent rock
formations, massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons, talus passages with names of Discovery Wall,
Elephant Rock, Machete Ridge, Balconies Cliffs, Upper Crust, the Camel, Papa, Mama, the Sisters, Chaos
Crags, Shaft, Rock Fingers, Salathe's Sliver, Nelson's Needle, Flat Iron, Gargoyle, Knuckle Ridge, Outcast,
Egg Peak, Tuff Dome, Teapot Dome, Proclamation Pinnacle, Baby Bear, Smokestack, Cornflake, Frothy
Flake. Spike's Peak, Big Step, The Lump, Piedras Bonitas, etc.
峰林地貌,處處皆景,峰體造型奇特, 千奇萬秀, 一景多變,移步換形, 造物之神的傑
作, 壯美,奇幻,令人震撼。

Spectacular view of Pinnacles, the fantastic remains of an ancient volcano.

Split Volcano and San Andreas Fault:

It is well known that the San Andreas Fault in California is the major plate boundary between the Pacific Plate
and the North American Plate of earth’s tectonic plates. It is the concept that the Earth's surface is made up of
a patchwork of landmasses called "tectonic plates." The west side (Pacific Plate) of the fault zone has been
moving northward relative to the east side (North American Plate) at a pace of several centimeters per year.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS),  Pinnacles National Park is “one half” of an ancient volcano
that erupted about 23 million years ago. The other half of that ancient volcano is 195 miles south in a place
called Neenach Formation about 34 miles northwest of Lancaster in the Antelope Valley portion of Southern
California. The reason for such split into two halves of the volcano is that the Pinnacles volcano formed about
23 million years ago on the fault zone of San Andreas Fault. As the two tectonic plates ground past each
other, the San Andreas Fault literally ripped the volcano into two halves and has been moving the west half
northward relative to the east half. Composition, texture, and geochronologic age-determinations suggest that
Pinnacle's volcanics are equivalent to the Neenach Formation located on the east side of the fault zone and
195 miles to the south.

The rock in the Pinnacles area has a "volcanic tuff" texture (also called breccia). It formed from massive,
explosive-style eruptions, more similar to the Mount St. Helens eruption than the calmer lava eruptions typical
of Hawaii.
絕壁攀岩, 巍峨偉麗, 有頂天立地之勢。

Sky-reaching Balconies Cliffs.

The massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled canyons and talus passages, caves, amazing hikes everywhere.
in addition to giant condors are the major attractions in Pinnacles National Park.

Spectacular Machete Ridge
峭岩陡壁的宏偉氣勢, 蔚蔚壯觀。

Such breathtaking shear cliffs and high walls on the west side make Pinnacles a very popular place for rock
climbing, a terrific place for rock climbers to work on their rock climbing skills.

We saw a hawk ( or golden eagle?) soaring high above the pinnacles


This history of faulting and earthquakes in this area has created deep, narrow gorges where huge boulders
have toppled from higher formations. These boulders, wedged at various heights above the canyon floors,
create the amazing Bear Gulch and Balconies talus caves, made of jumbles of boulders in narrow stream
canyons. In other words, the caves in Pinnacles are erosional caves in volcanic bedrock, unlike most other
caverns that form from the dissolution of limestone underground.

There are no lights inside these caves. We bought a flashlight from the visitor center and went through the
Balconies Cave by scrambling up and down the jumbles of large boulders inside the dark cave. Some portions
of the passage in the cave are so small that even a short adult must walk in a permanent crouched position.

There is still some light near the cave entrance. But the interior of the cave is pitch dark and a flash light is
absolutely necessary.
Many California quails near the picnic area
Two more California quails in the bush.
怪石嶙峋之秀,峰體造型奇特, 高低錯落, 形態各異,讓我們的想像盡情馳騁, 融神,

The hiking trails allow visitors to get right up among the densest formations of pinnacles in the park where
visitors can get a spectacular birds eye view of the surrounding territory while the massive California condors
circle right next to visitors.
We also saw several turkey vultures flying in the sky over Pinnacles
Detailed maps of Pinnacles National Park can be seen at the following websites:


However, in this trip we did not tour the east side of Pinnacles National Park and did not see the big condors.
Pinnacles National Park has been a part of the California Condor Recovery Program since 2003. It is one of
several sites for release of California Condors, which are very large birds with wingspan of 9.5 feet or more.
The goal of such program is to bring the big condors back from the danger of extinction.

Therefore, I may come back again to tour the east side of Pinnacles National Park and hopefully to see some
soaring giant condors

In our tour of Grand Canyon in June 2010, we did see several condors perching on the cliffs as shown on my
web page at:


In my subsequent 3-day tour of the South Rim of Grand Canyon from October 10 to 12, 2014, I did see and
took nice close up pictures of a condor soaring above the Grand Canyon as shown on my web page at:

奇峰怪石立刻吸引了遊客的眼光, 引人無限的遐思, 夠人蕩氣迴腸。

There are two visitors centers, Bear Gulch Visitors Center on the east side of the park off California 25 and
the Chaparral Visitors Center on the west side off US 101 (the road is steep on this side, so large vehicles are
discouraged). Both offer access to the pinnacles and other trails, but there is no road through the park to
connect the two sides.
One of the blue birds that we saw in Pinnacles National Park.
孤峰挺拔獨秀,出類超群, 天地間透著靈氣。
筆直的懸崖峭壁, 直指蒼穹,聳立在天地之間, 氣勢非凡。
紅石山峰雄姿,氣勢磅礡, 雄據一方。
In early November 2015, I came to tour the east side of Pinnacle National Park by driving south from Hollister
along Highway 25, then turn southwest on Highway 146 to get into the east side of this national park. The
views from east side of this national park are shown in these several photos.
The high peaks of Pinnacle National Park as viewed from the east side of the national Park. we also saw
many quails similar to what we saw on the west side. But we did not see any condor in this November 2015
Zoom in on the high peaks from east side.