Celebrate the West's National Parks by exploring their natural wonders. From navigating towering forests to spotting endangered species and even sleeping outdoors beneath a meteor shower, these are the can’t-miss adventures that get our hearts pumping.
Catch a Condor
Pinnacles National Park, located south of Hollister and known for its towering volcanic rock spires, is both the newest national park and one of only two that’s a release site for the endangered California condor. With wingspans of nearly 10 feet, the prehistoric-looking raptors are easiest to spot in the early morning or early evening from the Balconies and High Peaks trails, or from Pinnacles campground, which has two spotting scopes. Pinnacles also houses a large colony of Townsend’s big-eared bats in Bear Gulch cave, half of which is open for exploring starting in mid-July, after the bats have raised their young. Summer is a slower season, due to scorching temps, so if you’re set on cave exploring, plan a trip for October or March, when the entire Bear Gulch is open for the last week of each month.