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Now's the Time to Visit the US' Newest National Park, 'Pinnacles'

February 12, 2013 at 8:47 AM | by | ()

If you’re still planning to take advantage of the National Park Service’s free entrance days this year, then we’ve got another place to add to your national park to-do list. The next time the free days come along—that’s April 22 through April 26—we're thinking checking out the country’s newest national park might just be a good idea. Pinnacles National Park is hardly the new kid on the block, but after being a national monument since the early 1900s, it just got the upgrade into a full-fledged national park last month.

If you’re keeping track it’s certainly the newest national park, and it’s number 59 overall. We do apologize in advance if you’ve been to all of the national parks, but it looks like you need to head back outdoors to score one more stamp in your national park passport.

The National Park Service describes the park as a spot that rises out of the chaparral-covered Gabilan Mountains, outside Salinas Valley over in California. All the snazzy rock formations are remnants of an ancient volcanic field, and when you check it out in person you’ll be dazzled by monoliths, spires, and sheer-walled canyons. It’s all thanks to mother nature and plenty of erosion, as well as some friendly faulting and a little bit of moving and shaking by those pesky tectonic plates.

The park has both an east and west entrance, but there’s no road connecting both sides—so keep that in mind. It’s roughly a couple of hours from San Francisco, as you jump onto CA-25 after a ride down the 101. Best of all it’s a pretty good deal as far as parks are concerned, as it’s just $5 per carload of visitors. Just be sure to keep an eye to the skies while visiting, as you might even see a California condor—there's a few that call the park home.

[Photo: MiguelVieira]

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