Although I had heard of “Pinnacles,” I had never visited the area before. Before our group hike on Sunday, a ranger gave us a short lecture about the history of this unique area.
Pinnacle rock formations are the result of a volcano more than 23 million years ago when the Pacific Plate collided with the North American Plate. Interestingly, the rocks at Pinnacles represent only about half of the remains of the volcano, because the other half is about 195 miles to the southeast. The giant San Andreas Fault split the volcano and the Pacific Plate crept north, carrying the Pinnacles. Pinnacles still moves north about 1 inch per year.
Water and wind on the volcanic rocks formed the unusual rock structures. Fault movement and earthquakes made the talus caves, and deep gorges were made into caves when huge boulders fell from above and wedged in the gorges.
The best seasons to visit the park are fall, winter and spring.
Other items of interest:
Pinnacles National Monument is home to 14 of the 24 bat species in California .
19 baby condors have been released into Pinnacles. They are monitored after being released to increase their chances of survival. Unfortunately, the biggest threat to the reintroduction of the California condor is lead poisoning…residual lead often present in a carcass that has been shot.
ND… Pinnacles National Monument has the greatest number of bee species per unit area of any place ever studied. The roughly 400 bee species are mostly solitary; they do not live in hives.