Pinnacles National Park
The sun shines along the High Peaks Trail at Pinnacles National Park. (Courtesy of National Park Service)

SOLEDAD — Pinnacles National Park will break ground on a park-wide paving project beginning at the end of April, resulting in some closures for visitors during the late spring and early summer period.

The massive project will address necessary repairs to every road and paved surface in the park, improving the condition of the road for cars and bicyclists. According to Chris Symons, the park’s west lead ranger, the project will extend the lifetime of the pavement by an estimated 10 years.

“However, it will also result in some disruptions to the visitor experience during the late spring and early summer period of 2024,” Symons said. “Thank you for your patience and understanding while this critical project is underway.”

The west entrance — accessed through Soledad via Highway 146 East — will be entirely closed to all traffic during weekdays for the first three weeks in May, beginning April 29. This includes foot and bicycle traffic as well as motor vehicles.

Fridays, May 10 and 17, are scheduled to be open, but may be closed if additional work is necessary. The weekends will remain open for visitation, with the standard west side gate hours of 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. still in place.

“While the west entrance will be open on the previously mentioned weekends, during this time period the Jawbone parking lot will be the staging area for the heavy equipment being utilized for the project, and thus will not be open,” Symons said. “This will significantly limit parking availability, as only the Chaparral and Visitor Center lots will be available to the public.”

Visitors are advised to arrive early or come later in the afternoon and evening to avoid the midday peak visitation time.

Pinnacles National Park
The west side of Pinnacles National Park. (Courtesy of National Park Service)

The east entrance — accessed through King City via First Street/Bitterwater Road (G13) — will experience delays of roughly 30 minutes in specific places on select days between April and June, with sections of some parking lots and roads closed. No full closures are expected on the east side.

“While this is occurring, the park will manage alternating traffic along the remaining one lane, resulting in potentially 30-minute delays to visitors driving through,” Symons said. “Standard park congestion and traffic holds from high-season visitation will still be in place as needed, but the paving project itself will not otherwise impact wait-times outside the expected 30-minute delays.”

Between May 14 and 17, there will be micro-surfacing work on the east side that will require intermittent closures of parking areas while surfacing and drying is occurring. The most significant parking lot closures on the east side during these dates will occur at the Bear Gulch area.

The paved campground areas and roads will receive this treatment as well, so individuals camping during this time should expect similar minor disruptions along any paved roads and surfaces in the campground area. There will be no full closures related to camp sites or campground areas.

In addition, no work or closures will occur at the Pinnacles from Saturday, May 25, through Monday, May 27, due to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“While the park initiates the patch paving, chip sealing, micro-surfacing and micro-striping on the east side, visitors are asked to please drive carefully and watch for workers along the roadside,” advised Symons.

Pinnacles National Park’s paving project is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a nationwide investment in transit and infrastructure that allocated more than $1.73 billion to the National Park Service. Visit nps.gov/pinn for project updates and more details about park closures and operations.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.

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