Off Trail in the Pinnacles

Fall is coming and I feel the tug for a long walk in the Pinnacles. Despite the park’s recent upgrade from a National Monument to a National Park, the Pinnacles feels like a local park shared with outsiders through friends. There are miles of trail there to spend the whole day or a few hours. What I like and appreciate the most is that the trails are clear and well maintained with no obstructions, no brush. I can go for miles and miles in short pants and short sleeves and enjoy the freedom from getting tangled in pokey thickets of native growth. It can be nice. But sometimes I just can’t help myself…

One of my favorite hikes is not completely on the map. It’s known simply as the Pig Fence. I first learned of the hike back in early 2009. I only knew that it was remote and included several challenging climbs with expansive views of the park and surrounding landscape. I eyeballed maps and cobbled together what I discovered and what others told me and felt confident I knew where to go which was, “yeah, we take the South Wilderness Trail then follow the creek and when we see the  fence, follow that to North Chalone Peak”. Easy. So, me and my friend Ruby gave it a try; we were the last ones standing, willing for the attempt.

The photos below are the ones most frequent in my memory when I think of the Pig Fence; just me and Ruby and a winter afternoon on the trail.

I’ve hiked it several times since, August 9, 2014 is the most recent, but it is my first visit to the Pig Fence that my brain and body remembers first. For more photos of this hike, see the 2009 Pig Fence hike on the MBAHG site.

I have since learned that it is a good idea to follow the creek for as long as you can before the preamble climb to where you get your first good views of the Pig Fence and the hills where the hike really begins. Just a hint 😉

For a description of the “natural history” of the pig fence, the Park Service website for Pinnacles NP has an excellent page which can be read HERE.



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