Pinnacles National Monument is a protected mountainous area located east of central California's Salinas Valley, just miles from the town of Soledad. The Monument's namesakes are the eroded leftovers of half of an extinct Volcano.
The Monument is divided by the rock formations into East and West Divisions, connected by foot trails; there is no through road that connects the east and west entrances to the park. The east side has shade and water, the west has high walls. The rock formations provide for spectacular pinnacles that attract rock climbers. It is popular with advanced rock climbers due to the many difficult and challenging climbs.The Monument is most often visited in spring or fall because of the intense heat during the summer months.
More than 80% of the park is designated as the Pinnacles Wilderness (15,985 acres or 6,469 hectares), which provides even higher protection for the rock spires that give Pinnacles its name, as well as Chalone Peak, the highest peak in the Gabilan Range, and includes the creeks and canyons that are habitat for the endangered red-legged frog.The United States Congress in 1976 enacted Public Law 94-567, adding Pinnacles Wilderness and several others to the National Wilderness Preservation System.