- Westside Closed Due To Rain
(posted: Jan 30, 2021)
Due to damage caused by high winds and heavy rainfall over the past few days, the west side (Soledad, CA) of Pinnacles National Park and the Balconies trail are temporarily closed to all users.
Pinnacles National Park Reopening to Visitors With Limitations
posted: May 23, 2020
The park has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, losing revenue and staff, and will need your cooperation to make even a limited reopening work.
Access to the park will be limited for the safety of all:
- You can NOT drive into the Park
You will have to park outside of the Park in designated areas and walk or bicycle into the Park
Limited parking on private land may be available outside of the park on the east side. Parking on roadways outside the park is unsafe and subject to ticketing. Visitors are encouraged to coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups or use rideshare when accessing the park during this time.
- The number of visitors will be limited and you are NOT guaranteed entrance unless you have a reservation at the Pinnacles Campground
- It's always a good idea to call ahead
FOR ALL PARK VISITORS
Now, more than ever, it is important to keep these things in mind if you plan to visit the Park:
- Covid-19 guidelines are in force, including social distancing recommendations and the use of masks where appropriate
- Help keep bathrooms clean and pack out ALL of your trash
- If you bike into the Park, stay on designated roadways - bike racks will be available
Do NOT ride on hiking trails
- Be extra respectful to Park staff who are putting themselves at risk so that you can enjoy this incredible resource
As climbers we also need to adapt to the current situation. The following guidelines and suggestions were put together with input from both the Park and the Access Fund:
- IMPORTANT! Follow social distancing guidelines. Do not crowd into one area.
- Rapter closures are still in effect - pay attention to closure signs
- Target multiple possible crags in case you find your first and second choices occupied. Don't expect to find space at Tourist Trap, Discovery Wall or Tilting Terrace.
- Add a mask to your pack. You'll be glad you have it if the need arises.
- Remember, we are in the summer season and temperatures can easily pass 100 degrees.
Carry extra water!
- Go here to check out the Access Fund's Guidelines.
Why Doesn't The Park Just Open Fully?
The Park's budget is greatly reduced due to not having collected entrance fees for several months. This has required the furlough of a number of park personnel. Add to this the continuing risk due to the COVID-19 virus which requires that remaining personnel be segregated in order to reduce their risk. The Park wants to make the Pinnacles accessible and a partial reopening is the first step.
Can I Guarantee My Spot When I come To The Park?
The staff at Pinnacles National Park is considering a reservation system for those limited parking spaces. Friends of Pinnacles will keep you informed about any new system if and when it is available. However, at this time the parking is not guaranteed. The only way to guarantee entrance into the park is to make a reservation at the Pinnacles Campground.
Is The Park Setting The COVID Guidelines?
Pinnacles National Park is adhering to the Covid-19 pandemic guidelines in place for San Benito County, the State of California and the United States government. Please respect these guidelines. If you do enter the park via foot or with a bicycle remember to keep proper social distancing and wear a mask whenever you cannot do so.
The official Park Press Release can be found here.
Who Is Making Policy For Climbers?
There is no "official" policy for climbers. Friends Of Pinnacles has been looking to the Park and The Access Fund for recommendations. The Access Fund has conducted a series of open meetings with crags across the US and assembled their own guidelines. These are posted on their Web site.
Here is their COVID Recommendations Poster:
What Are The Guidelines For Climbers?
Of course, all of the climbing guidelines are predicated on the general pandemic guidelines set forth by the state.
For climbers the most important guideline to follow is to maintain proper social distancing. To this end, when planning your trip come up with a set of alternate climbing locations. This way, if you arrive at your proposed climbing formation and find it occupied you can easily and without the pressure of feeling "robbed" or "displaced" move onto another, less-crowded formation.
Assume that the most popular areas, such as the Tourist Trap and Discovery Wall on the East Side and Tilting Terrace on the West Side, may be occupied. Use this time as an opportunity to visit other, less popular formations.
Be prepared! Carry a mask. Even if you chose not to use it while you climb, if a member of your party is injured and needs assistance, putting a mask on that climber allows a margin a safety for you and any rescue personnel.
Remember! We are in the summer season. Temperatures often exceed 100 degrees. Keep in mind that you will be walking or riding a long way. Extra water is critical.
During these tough times try to keep Park staff in mind. Do what you can to help out. The park is understaffed - don't become an extra burden on park service personnel.