Pinnacles National Park is a United States national park located east of the Salinas Valley in Central California. It was established as a national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, and became a national park in 2013. The area became popular in the late 1800s by homesteader Schuyler Hain, who led tours to Bear Valley and advocated for the area’s preservation.
This park protects both the mountains in the region, as well as the foothill habitats surrounding them. The park is divided into East and West Divisions by rock formations, and are only interconnected by foot trails. The rock formations that make up the national park make amazing pinnacles that are popular among rock climbers.
The wildlife here is a major feature of the park as well, and the park features interesting caves that are home to at least 13 species of bats. A study in the 1990s showed that the park has more bees per unit area than known anywhere else in the world, making up approximately 400 different species. Bobcats, cougars, coyotes, gray foxes, and other mammals can be seen here as well.
While the park is home to a variety of wildlife, it is also a major birding hotspot. There are greater numbers of Prairie Falcons here than almost anywhere else in North America. In 2003, a California Condor conservation program was started here, and a flock is now well established in and around the park. Connecting wild spaces is incredibly important in conservation, and researchers now have realized that these condors move freely between Pinnacles National Park and the Big Sur coastline to the west.
Owen traveled to Pinnacles National Park with his good friend and guide Nathan Goldberg in October 2021, and has photographed Lawrence’s Goldfinch, Canyon Wren, Steller’s Jay, Oak Titmouse, and more here.
Birds found here