Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy Camper

Make a great escape to the Pinnacles

Full_pinnaclesfinal

Yeah sure, Crossfit has you bulkier and more agile than you were in college, but what good is all that mass if you're not putting it to use?

Test your limits hiking through caves and tackle some of the coolest rock climbing routes ever at the Pinnacles.

Here's how to make our newest national park your own sprawling, stunning private gym.
 

DO
Nothing like rocky spires and scenic vistas to bring out your inner warrior, just 2 1/2 hours from SF at 
Pinnacles National Park. Use the east entrance for the visitor center, Bear Gulch Nature Center and a number of trails. Try the west gate for the Chaparral Ranger Station and additional hiking options (roads don’t connect the park’s two sides). In all, you'll find more than 30 miles of trails twisting through grasslands, cliffs, and caves. When you're done throwing boulders, don’t miss the 9.4-mile hike from the visitor center to Balconies Cave.
 
The park’s rocky terrain attracts
climbers seeking new challenges, and the west side boasts a few bouldering opportunities, too. More than 30 rare condors also live in the park as part of the California Condor Recovery Program. Do not chase them like chickens. This ain't Rocky.
 
DINE
You're in need of protein. Off the park’s east entrance, detour off Highway 156 to fuel up at Hollister’s
Grillin & Chillin Downtown. With huge brunch plates and hearty all-American entrees (think steaks, hot wings, burgers, and more) and 20 taps featuring regional craft beer, it’s the perfect pit stop.
650 San Benito St. #110, Hollister (831-636-2952)
 
If you’re entering the park from the west, your best bet is
La Casa del Sazon in Oldtown Salinas. The local favorite dishes up fresh, made-to-order Mexican fare everything from breakfast burritos and tostadas to tacos and seafood plates, along with spicy house-made salsa. You earned those chips, chief.
438 Salinas Street, Salinas (831-783-1277)


DREAM 
Base yourself at 
Pinnacles Campground, accessible via the park’s east entrance. Campers can reserve single tent, group, or RV sites, just a short walk to several popular trails. Bathrooms, barbeque pits, pay showers (dang!), drinking water, and a general store make stays here convenient and comfortable.
Reservations start at $23 per night,
here. 5000 Highway 146, Paicines (831-389-4538)
 
Of course, you don't have to rough it. A
fter a full day's adventure, treat yourselves to the Inn at the Pinnacles. This bed & breakfast offers killer views of the surrounding mountaintop vineyards and outfits each suite with a fridge, microwave, grill, and wet bar plus a whirlpool tub and queen bed.
From $225 per night, here. 32025 Stonewall Canyon Rd., Soledad (831-678-2400)

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