In late October 2011 Vannessa's sister Susan was visiting and we did a long day trip down to the Pinnacles National Monument.
We started with a hike up the High Peaks - Balconies Cave Loop to get a view from the top and hike the spectacular cliffs. The weather was pretty perfect with 80+ degrees and a slight breeze. This place can get a bit too hot in summer but autumn is great.
After a little food and water stop by the ranger station we then embarked on the Balconies Cliffs–Balconies Cave Loop. For much of the year they close off this talus cave to protect the bats that live there but in late October the whole cave is open. The place is refreshingly undeveloped with just a crude little patch that you scamble through using your own flashlight.
A great day hike and well worth the somewhat long day drive.