|Sitting on one of the sandstone formations in Point Lobos!
With a weekend trip, time is of the essence. Initially, I had hoped to re-visit Yosemite, as it's a quintessential National Park, however at this time of year, it's largely closed. Instead, Mr. Lovey and I decided to focus in on Pinnacles National Park (the newest NP!), as well as make a quick morning stop and Point Lobos State Park in Monterey.
|The coastline here was absolutely gorgeous! That and you'll get to spot the occasional sea lion or sea otter.
Along the shoreline, you can soak in all the breathtaking hues of marine blue. It's a great spot for wildlife as well. At the little cove above, we heard the barks of sea lions, and even a couple basking in the sun and swimming in the surf. The park is said to have sea otters as well (sea otters are the cutest!), though I didn't personally see any that day. I'd recommend bringing binoculars, if you have a pair. We didn't think to bring them, but we noticed a number of people who'd brought them for a better view of the wildlife.
|The shores are lined with pretty, variegated sandstone formations!
2. Pinnacles National Park - is the newest national park in the U.S.. Previously it had been a National Monument, but was upgraded in 2013! The park's variegated terrain formed as a result of multiple volcanic eruptions that occurred some 23 million years ago.
The park itself has convenient proximity to the more urban San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas. Interestingly, unlike most other National Parks, it's most popular in the cooler months (as summer temperatures can be extreme), making it perfect for my December trip!
|It's a good idea to wear a helmet, in case rocks rain down from above! (Incidentally, they don't protect your face, as I found out the hard way...)
I'd definitely recommend a climb here if you have time. A lot of local climbers enjoy the spot in winter, as other popular destination like Yosemite are less available. With a guide, it's accessible to outdoor beginners as well. For non-climbers, there are a lot of hiking trails throughout the park, including a couple cave routes!
|As you can see, a lot of great potential climbs in Bear Gulch!
Thanks for reading! What parks have you visited recently? Which would you recommend?