Paving Projects Will Impact Pinnacles National Park Visitors

Later this month paving projects will begin in Pinnacles National Park in California, creating some access issues for visitors.

This 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, as well as extend the lifetime of the pavement by an estimated 10 years, a park release said. However, it will also result in some disruptions to the visitor experience during the late spring and early summer.

West Pinnacles Impact: 

The most significant disruptions will occur at the beginning of the project, which will necessitate the complete closure of the west side entrance to traffic during standard workweek days for three weeks. Beginning April 29 the West Entrance road will close to all traffic, including foot and bicycle traffic as well as motor vehicles, while the narrow road on the west side is being serviced. The calendar of operational closures on the west side then continues as follows:

  • The west entrance will remain closed from Monday, April 29, through Friday, May 3. 
  • The west entrance will re-open for the weekend days of May 4 and May 5. 
  • The west entrance will be closed again Monday, May 6, through Thursday, May 9. 
  • The west entrance will re-open for the weekend beginning on Friday, May 10, through Sunday, May 12. 
  • The west entrance will again be closed Monday, May 13, through Thursday, May 16. 
  • The west entrance will re-open to the public on Friday, May 17. No further total closures are scheduled, for the west or east sides. 

Both Friday, May 10, and Friday, May 17, are currently scheduled to be open to the public. However, these days may be closed if an issue or project extension is required for additional work. This will not impact the weekends following those dates, which will be open regardless.  

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 will not be open to visitors. 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. Standard operating hours for the west entrance of 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. still apply, and all visitors still need to limit their recreation to this time period. 

East Pinnacles Impact 

Beginning at the end of April through early June, the east entrance road will be receiving treatments that necessitate the occasional closure of one lane to adequately and safely address. 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. 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 Tuesday, May 14, and Friday, May 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 be: 

  • Tuesday, May 14: The Bear Gulch Picnic and Condor Gulch restroom parking lots in the Bear Gulch area will be closed for servicing. 
  • Wednesday, May 15: Half of the Bear Gulch parking lot will be closed for servicing, while the other half remains open for visitor use and access. The RV and group campsite roads will be closed for several hours as well, during which time arriving campers may need to wait to park at their site. 
  • Thursday, May 16: Campground site roads for tent sites will be closed for several hours, during which time campers arriving at their site may need to wait to park at their site. 
  • Friday, May 17: Half of the Bear Gulch parking lot will be closed for servicing, while the other half remains open for visitor use and access. The Moses Springs and Manzanita parking areas will also be closed for servicing. 

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. Visitors will need to park their vehicles fully on their gravel campground sites, and not on pavement surfaces, to avoid obstructing the ongoing project work. 

Pinnacles National Park will not see any work or closures during 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 drive carefully and watch for workers along the roadside. 

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