Most Popular Campgrounds in Pinnacles National Park
The newest U.S. national park, Pinnacles encompasses 26,000 acres of spectacular rock formations and remnants of an extinct 23 million-year old volcano. Located 32 miles south of Hollister, California, this national park was named after the towering spires that rise abruptly out of the chaparral-covered hills east of Salinas Valley. And while Pinnacles is a Mecca for rock climbing and hiking, the park’s biggest attractions are endangered California condors and talus caves that bat colonies call home.
Most national parks have an abundance of camping within, but Pinnacles is different. Here are three campgrounds (one inside the park) that are perfect for exploring this unique landscape.
1. Pinnacles Campground
Located on the eastern side of the park, Pinnacles Campground is a family friendly spot that offers group tent sites as well as RV sites with electric hookups. There is also a gentle, seasonal creek that runs between the RV loops and tent loops. Amenities include picnic tables, flush toilets, running water, coin showers and a dump station for RV’s. With a rolling landscape that’s dotted with shady oak trees, this campground is the perfect place to take it easy.
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2. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
This site is 2 hours away, so it means a trip to Pinnacles is going to be a day trip. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a popular campground that is great for families who are looking to explore all that Big Sur has to offer. The tent sites here are spaced apart from the RV sites which makes for a quiet and peaceful camping experience. With a general store and lodge short drives away, this campground will make you feel right at home.
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3. Limekiln State Park
Also a 2-hour drive from Pinnacles, Limekiln State Park offers a small and enchanting campground in the middle of the Big Sur coastline. With only 24 campsites, this site can fill up fast so be sure to book at least six months in advance. This campground has two levels, so if you favor ocean sounds and rocky beach proximity over being exposed, then the lower sites are for you. But, if being tucked away amongst redwoods with a little stream nearby sounds about right, then the upper sites is where you should book. With toilets and running water, this campground is more for the primitive camper.
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When you’re not admiring the endangered and majestic California condor soar overhead, you can indulge in some world class hiking and rock climbing. Be sure to check out Bear Gulch and Balconies talus caves.
The Dyrt’s Ranger duo the Switchback Kids, who spent a year visiting all 59 National Parks, have put together this incredible video to document their firsthand experience in Pinnacles with the hopes of improving the visit of others.
Switchback Kids Ranger Tip: Look up! There are rare California Condor here, and they fly so high, you might mistake them for a turkey vulture.
Win gear for camping Pinnacles
When you review campsites across the US on The Dyrt, you get the chance to win outdoor gear. In California, you have the chance to win a $100 gift card from Boost Oxygen, a $75 gift card from TredAgain, and an MH2 Headlamp from Ledlenser. Check out the contest leaderboard, review your camping experience, earn points for your review, and you could win prizes!