First-time visitors are surprised at how “out there” Pinnacles National Park is. Eighty percent of the park is wilderness, but what surrounds the park is also mostly wilderness—the undeveloped foothills of the Gabilan Mountains. No restaurants. No gas stations. No supermarket. If you’re camping, you may grow weary of blackened hot dogs. If you’re driving back to civilization after a long day of hiking, your stomach may be growling. Head to the Inn at Tres Pinos, a restaurant where they won’t scoff at your hiking boots. In fact, you can wear your cowboy hat.
The inn was a favorite watering hole of 1880s cattle ranchers and the site of a one-time brothel. In the center of Tres Pinos, a town of about 500 residents, this historic landmark serves up filet mignon, salmon, veal (thankfully, no hot dogs); enjoy it all with a glass of local San Benito County wine served in an unpretentious dining room. Check out the saloon’s antique brass cash register and rickety wooden floorboards.