I've deemed 2018 to be my official Year of National Parks, visiting (and photographing) as many  as I can squeeze. First on the list was decidedly Pinnacles National Park. Located about 30 minutes outside of Hollister, we were met with a desert-like climate. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but a desert terrain wasn't it!

national park california

For mid-February, it was pretty darn warm, which made for comfortable day time outings yet cooler night temperatures. As we trekked through Pinnacles in short sleeves, it was easy to imagine how hot it must get when visiting during the summer months. Luckily, February was totally the perfect combination of good weather and few visitors!

Knowing we had a full day in the park on Saturday, we committed to a longer hike in the late morning and a shorter hike before sunset, breaking midday for lunch and an obligatory nap. We discovered some unexpected caves (flashlights recommended) that were both awe-inspiring and a bit claustrophobic at times. 

On Sunday, we set the alarm for what felt like the middle of the night to hike the high peaks before sunrise. One of the main things we hoped to see while visiting the park was a California Condor, an endangered bird that calls Pinnacles National Park home thanks to a recovery program that's primary focus is to help the species survive. Sunrise turned out to be a win-win because not only were we the ONLY ones on the trail to watch the sun come up, but we also found about 8 condors flying above the high peaks of the pinnacles! The markings under their wings distinguish them from other like birds; you can easily see a white triangle on their wings when beneath them. 

Pinnacles National Park is certainly a hidden gem and an easy weekend getaway for campers and outdoor lovers alike! But the real question is, who wants to do their engagement session here? ;)

selfie in pinnacles
pinnacles lake
san andreas fault
sunrise national park
warm sunrise pinnacles
condors in pinnacles
california condor
pinnacles desert
sunrise at pinnacles
california condor
condor sunrise

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