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Pinnacles Backpacking List – What to Pack in Summer and Winter?

Home » Pinnacles Backpacking List – What to Pack in Summer and Winter?


I am Eddie, and I have been an avid hiker for many years. Today, I want to share some hiking tips for packing your bag for a trip to Pinnacles, which is one of my favorite parks for hiking and trekking.

Pinnacles National Park is located to the east of Central California’s Salinas Valley. If you plan to go to Pinnacles National Park for a couple of days, you can opt for a walk-in pass that will cost you $15 and will be valid for seven days. Also, Pinnacles has an annual pass that comes at $55. These passed you can purchase here or here. In case you have the America the Beautiful annual pass, you can enter the park with it.

The park offers many trails for hikers to enjoy the wildlife of this gorgeous place. However, it is important to make sure to pack all the essential items for such a trip.

It is dry and hot in the summer so that the temperature can reach 100F, and mildly cold during the winter. Therefore, the items you need to take for a trip in the warm or cold season differ. Here you can find two detailed lists for hiking in the spring and summer, as well as for a winter adventure.

Pinnacles Packing List for Spring and Summer

Pinnacles hiking

For hiking in Pinnacles National Park, you should have a detailed packing list that includes clothes, personal items, adventure gear, hiking gear, and so on. If you plan to visit the park in the summer and spring, the number of items you need to take with you is smaller, compared to winter preparations. However, you need to create a list not to miss a thing.

What to Pack for the Pinnacles During the Warm Season: A Short List

  • Summer hiking boots;
  • At least two pair of socks (natural material is preferable);
  • Long-sleeve shirts and t-shorts;
  • A raincoat/coat (for cool evenings/rains);
  • Pants;
  • A hat/cap;
  • Sunglasses;
  • Sunscreen;
  • Snacks;
  • Water;
  • A first aid kit;
  • A tent and a sleeping bag (if you go trekking);
  • GPS;
  • A watch;
  • A power bank.

Here are the essential things you need to have with you when going hiking or trekking. Let’s take a closer look at some of these items.

What to Wear to Pinnacles

What to Wear to Pinnacles

Speaking about clothes for Pinnacles National Park, I usually wear one set of clothing and pack an additional one. In the summer, for hiking, I usually wear a short-sleeved shirt and light shorts or a longer-sleeved shirt and summer pants. The material of your clothes should be light and breathable to make your journey comfortable.

Most of Pinnacles National Park`s trails are under direct sunlight, with a rare shadowing. Therefore, I recommend wearing some light long-sleeved cloth to cover your shoulders and arms so that you protect your skin from the sunburn and not get overheated. Also, take a long-sleeved jacket with you to wear in the evening when the temperature will dropdown.

Good hiking boots are one of the essential items for every traveler. I advise wearing the boots a few times before you go hiking in them to make sure the boots do not chafe your feet.

Ordinary sports shoes can somehow work for hiking but not for trekking. Wearing flip-flops on the trails is a really bad idea. Your feet must be protected from all possible trail and weather conditions.

Pinnacles Hiking Gear for Spring and Summer

Here are the items that will be of help for you if you decide on a difficult trail for hiking or trekking:

  • Waterproof hiking boots;
  • Waterproof trekking jacket;
  • Two long-sleeved sport shirts;
  • Hiking trousers;
  • Trekking poles.

What to Bring to the Pinnacles in the First Aid Kit

Protection is the key element for every traveler. First of all, during the warm season, you need to protect yourself from direct sun rays with such things as a sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Even if you start your trip on a cloudy morning, the weather can change anytime, so make sure to pack all the protection items anyway.

Also, my first aid kit usually consists of two types of painkillers, an antiseptic ointment for scratches, and duct tape. Consider packing a bug spray as there are many bugs in the park in the spring and summer.

Food to Take with for Hiking or Trekking at any Season

healthy snacks

Before you start a trip, you have to think about the food you will pack in your bag. Hiking and trekking activities require a huge amount of energy. Therefore, food will help to get your energy back and keep your energy level.

If you go hiking, consider packing small healthy snacks like nuts or granola bars to eat during the day. Chocolate bars, bananas, sweet fruits are not the best choice to take it with you because these products contain quick carbs that will energize you for a short period only.

I want to note that there is a Visitor center that works daily so that you can buy some food or camping equipment if needed. There are several campgrounds in the park, so you can cook there if you want. But if you plan to go hiking in the woods, make sure to pack snacks, food, pots, and lighter in your bag before you start your journey.

Water is essential for any hiker because you need to keep your water balance during hiking hours. I recommend carrying water in a special bottle to avoid the usage of plastic bottles. If you see any water sources on your way, you can use a water filter to clean the water and fill your bottle again or cook something. Also, you can buy bottled water in the Visitor center but only there.

The Other Items for your Hiking Day

If you are planning to stay in the park overnight, there are several established campgrounds in Pinnacles National Park. There, you can get dinnerware, such as a cup, a plate, etc. However, you will need to carry a pot and products for your meal. A water filter will be a good idea to make sure you drink clean water.

A head flashlight will be useful after the sunset. Don’t forget about GPS, a watch, a compass, and a power bank to get the best of your trip.

I want to note that you can take zip locks to keep your waste and throw it only after leaving the park territory. It is important to keep the territory of Pinnacles National Park clean.

Pinnacles Backpacking List for the Winter

mountain hiking

There are frequent rains during the winter, so hiking in this season will require you to have a waterproof warm jacket and pants. Make sure to check the weather forecast before heading to the park.

In general, the packing list for a cold season doesn’t differ much from the one above. The basic difference is in the clothes you need to wear and pack. These should be warm and waterproof for a good hiking experience.

Packing List for Pinnacles During the Cold Season: A Short List

  • Winter hiking boots;
  • Two pair of socks;
  • Thermal underwear;
  • Winter waterproof jacket;
  • A sweater;
  • Winter waterproof trousers;
  • Two pairs of gloves;
  • A hat;
  • Winter trekking poles;
  • Sunglasses;
  • A sunscreen (it is important to protect your skin even during the winter);
  • GPS;
  • A power bank;
  • A first aid kit;
  • Snacks;
  • Water;
  • A tent and a winter sleeping bag.

For your hiking gear in the winter season, you will need winter hiking boots, warm woolen socks, thermal underwear, a waterproof winter jacket, gloves, hat, and winter trekking poles. The hiking boots must be light but solid enough. Other clothes should be warm and waterproof as well to ensure your comfort during the trip.

If you stay at the park overnight, make sure to carry a winter sleeping bag that will keep you warm. Also, I advise packing a sleeping pad that will act as additional thermal protection and a cushion.

My Remarks on Packing to Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park is truly beautiful at any season. Whether you are planning to go hiking or enjoy trekking for a couple of days, it is important to be fully prepared for such a trip. Therefore, it is essential to pack all the important items for hiking and trekking. I hope that the lists and recommendations I have provided here will help you to pack for visiting and enjoying Pinnacles National Park.

What would you add to these backpacking lists? What would you take to Pinnacles? Write a comment below and let me know!

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