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Pinnacles National Park, California – Volunteer Vacations 2022

February 28 - March 4

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Some 23 million years ago multiple volcanoes erupted, flowed, and slid to form what would become Pinnacles National Park. What remains is a unique landscape. Travelers journey through chaparral, oak woodlands, and canyon bottoms. Hikers enter rare talus caves and emerge to towering rock spires teeming with life: prairie and peregrine falcons, golden eagles, and the inspiring California condor. American Hiking Society volunteers will work to repair and maintain dry stone steps and trail tread on multiple sections of the Old Pinnacles Trail. The project includes repairing 96 cubic feet of dry stone steps at one site, maintaining a 697 linear feet causeway, and maintaining over 10,560 square feet of trail tread at multiple sections along the trail. This project will reset the stone steps and repair the causeway at locations where the trail crosses or parallels Chalone Creek. Volunteers will also repair stone retaining walls to prevent slumping of the walking surface on this heavily used trail.


National Park Service


Car Camping Tent Sites


Day hiking up to 5 miles each work day.

Project Rating


Minimum Volunteer Age


Maximum Group Size


Area and Attractions

Pinnacles National Park is in California's Central Coast region of the Gabilan Mountain Range east of the Salinas Valley. The park's 27,000 acres, with over 16,000 acres of designated wilderness, has at its core rock formations of an ancient volcanic field that originated 200 miles southeast as it crept along the San Andreas Fault over the past 23 million years. The surrounding landscape is largely chaparral with areas of oak grasslands. Beyond the boundaries are working landscapes for ranching and agricultural operations that still support this rural part of California and uphold dark night skies. Elevations range from 824 to 3304 feet, and temperature extremes range from 15 degrees in winter to over 110 degrees in summer. The park holds about 36 miles of maintained trial and 40+ miles of pig exclusion fence. The nearest communities for shopping, doctors, hospitals, and other amenities are Hollister (40 miles, population 34,400), King City (40 miles, population 11,000), Gilroy (65 miles, population 41,400), Salinas (70 miles, population 151,000), and Monterey (90 miles, population 30,000). The park offers excellent hiking, rock climbing and bird watching, being the prime location for the California Condor and numerous other raptors.

Accommodations Description

Volunteers will stay in an administrative camping area on the East side of the park with picnic tables and fire rings (fires may not be permitted at time of visit due to fire restrictions). Volunteers can potentially sleep in their vehicles if desired, however hookups will not be available. Water is available at the campsites, and restrooms with showers and flush toilets are a short 2-5 minute walk from camps. Volunteers need to supply their own tent and personal camping gear including sleeping bag, towels, and personal cup/bowl/mug/eating utensils. Please contact [email protected] for assistance with gear needs.


San Jose International Airport in San Jose, California is the closest major airport. Airport pickup is not provided for this trip. Volunteers are responsible for transportation to and from camp and the work site. Carpooling can be arranged once the project is confirmed.


Pinnacles National Park
5000 Highway 146, Paicines, California 95043 + Google Map