Wahoo! We're so pumped you're registered for this camping adventure to explore the magnificent rocky spires, talus caves, and canyons of Pinnacles National Park.
You'll find most of the info you need to prepare for your trip on this page. We'll email you the week before the trip with final details about our meeting spot, carpools, and bios from the other rad ladies who'll be joining you.
We'll be car camping right in Pinnacles National Park, amongst a rolling landscape dotted with shady oaks along a gentle, seasonal creek. In the Spring, Pinnacles is alive and washed in color with a wide variety of brilliant wildflowers. You can spot deer, wild turkeys, and even California Condors right within the campground.
We'll pull our cars directly into our campsite, meaning you'll only have to carry your belongings around thirty feet (from your car to your tent). The campground features potable water spigots and bathrooms with flush toilets and running water. Pay showers with hot water are also available, though few take advantage. If you're deeply committed to showering, bring quarters, a towel, and flip flops! A general store with basic foods and camping supplies is located on-site. A swimming pool is located within the campground and is open from April through September, so if your trip dates fall within that range, be sure to bring a swimsuit!
A Note on Camp Fires
The area in and around Pinnacles National Park is very dry, and during the summer months, fires are usually prohibited. Trail Mavens generally visits Pinnacles in the Spring and Fall, and are hopeful that we'll be able to make a roaring campfire each trip, but please be aware there's a chance we won't. It all depends on the restrictions set by the National Park Service. But don't worry...we'll have plenty of lanterns, snacks, and drinks to make merry with, fire or no fire!
Breakfast/lunch/dinner on Saturday, and breakfast/lunch on Sunday will be provided. We’ll eat tasty hot meals for breakfast and dinner, and this will also be your opportunity to get hands-on practice using a variety of camping stoves. The group will share in cooking and cleanup responsibilities, and you'll be on meal duty and dish duty at least once.
For lunch, we'll have picnic-style food that's easy to take on the trail (think PB&Js, apples, bars, nuts, dried fruit, and jerky for meat eaters) but if you’ve got any favorite trail treats, feel free to bring them.
On Friday evening, we'll stop for dinner at Whole Foods en route to Pinnacles. Bring cash/credit to buy your dinner at the hot food bar!
Each Trail Maven should plan on bringing the following items.
Lightweight shoes/sandals for hanging out at our campsite that can be worn with socks (like Crocs/Tevas/Chacos rather than flip-flops)
Tampons/pads as needed
Glasses/contacts with solution
Field Notes notebook (Trail Mavens alumnae only. New participants will be given their own on this trip!)
Optional: hiking poles (esp. if you have knee issues), small pillow, hand towel, earplugs, camera, bandana or Buff to keep sun off your neck, small bottle hand sanitizer
Sleeping bag rated at 30° or colder
Headlamp with fresh batteries/spares
Sleeping bag liner (if borrowing Trail Mavens sleeping bag)
Personal clothing (see below)
Day pack to carry while hiking
Water bottles and/or hydration bladder with a minimum 2L capacity
Health insurance card & ID
Items in bold will be provided for those women who indicated they needed them during registration.
SHARED ITEMS, PROVIDED BY TRAIL MAVENS: Tents, lanterns, food and wine, stoves, fuel, cookware, camp chairs, utensils, firewood and basic First Aid.
This trip is a great opportunity to practice your minimalist packing skills! We recommend the following:
One pair shorts/leggings for hiking during the day
One pair warm long pants for hanging around camp at night
Two tanks/short-sleeved shirts (one to hike in, one for sleeping)
One lightweight long-sleeved shirt for warmth in the evening
Fleece or down jacket for warmth
Waterproof jacket for warmth / in case of rain
Two pairs socks (one pair on your feet, one pair in your bag)
Two pairs underwear
Warm hat/lightweight gloves
Sturdy, broken-in walking shoes
Weather & Conditional Packing
Click here for the Pinnacles weather forecast as we approach our trip! Pinnacles National Park has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers, and mild winters with moderate precipitation. The park experiences a wide range of seasonal temperatures, with daytime highs during the summer climbing over 100° F, and nighttime lows hitting below freezing in the winter. Be prepared for hot, dry, exposed conditions during the day, and the need to bundle up at night!
Since everybody is different, it’s up to YOU to check out the weather forecast and judge your personal comfort levels, and plan accordingly! Please use your own judgement when packing: if you’re always cold, pack heavier extra layers (i.e., leggings to go under pants).
PACKING FOR RAIN
Except in the most extreme cases, we run trips rain or shine! If rain or snow is in the forecast, here's what you should be bringing in addition to the items in the packing list above:
Waterproof rain jacket (you should bring this on every trip regardless of forecast)
Waterproof rain pants
Waterproof hiking boots (tennis shoes or trail runners should NOT be worn on rainy trips)
Three pairs of wool socks (one pair on your feet, one pair that's dry and ready to change into, and one pair that might be drying off from an earlier hike)
As much wool, synthetic fleece, or down layers as possible, and as little cotton as possible (cotton won't keep you dry or warm enough in rainy weather)
Leave No Trace
Trail Mavens is committed to following and teaching Leave No Trace principles. To get you started, watch this video on LNT Outdoor Ethics from the National Parks Service. We'll cover this material again on our trip!
Trail Mavens often enjoy wine or whiskey together around the campfire in the evenings. Participation in drinking is welcome but of course not mandatory. We ask that Trail Mavens leave recreational drugs at home. If you’re a smoker, please be respectful and partake in a manner that doesn’t bother other group members, and adheres to Leave No Trace principles.
This is an internet-free weekend (plus, we won’t have cell service)! If you’d like to share your pics on social media, go for it, but only after we get back home. Then, feel free to go crazy tagging @trailmavens on Instagram or Twitter.
Trail Mavens provides its adventurers with about $1000 of fantastic camping gear. Read on for tips on how to keep gear in top-notch condition for future Mavens:
Your tent is your home for the weekend, so you want to keep it clean and tidy!
Unless you’re actively getting in or out of your tent, keep doors zipped shut to avoid six-legged visitors
Consume only water inside your tent to keep it scent-free, and store anything smelly, including toiletries, in the car you rode in
Keep shoes and anything else dirty or sharp outside, as high-end tent fabric is quite delicate
Set up your sleeping bag inside your tent to keep both your bag and your tent clean.
Our pads are inflatable, meaning they’re a) quite comfortable and b) can pop if they meet a sharp rock. Be sure to unpack, inflate, deflate, and pack your pad inside your tent, away from anything sharp. This will ensure a comfortable night of sleep for you, and a clean tent.