It's not often that Bear Gulch Caves are completely open, but on Friday a tweet from Pinnacles National Park announced just that. The caves, which are of the talus variety, are home to protected Townsend's big-eared bats, and thus are partially or fully closed throughout the year. The National Park Service keeps a schedule on a webpage, but it does not appear to be correctly updated as of publish. As with many outdoors locations, calling the visitor center beforehand helps ensure finding the most accurate information.
The complete opening of the caves is through the end of the month, but open or not, the area around the caves is worth the hike, according to local experts. "This is a great hike for all ages and most hiking abilities, and it highlights some of the more interesting areas of the park," writes Casey Schreiner at Modern Hiker of his short and easy 1.5 mile hike in Bear Gulch. The writers at Weekend Sherpa recommended a longer 5.5 mile "Grand Central Circuit": "The first section [of the cave] is a deep, narrow gorge suitable for most explorers. True spelunkers can continue into the upper half of the cave where crouching and negotiating tight squeezes is part of the fun."
But don't forget a flashlight, as it is required for entry. To get a sense of the caves, check out this video by Mike Horn:
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