Due to its proximity to the parking lots at the Bear Gulch Day Use Area, Tourist Trap is a popular climbing crag at Pinnacles National Park. Offering about a dozen toprope, sport, and trad routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.11a, Tourist Trap serves climbers of various abilities within a 15-minute walk from the car. Sharing its approach with the main trail serving many of the major attractions on the east side of the park, Tourist Trap also draws the attention of hikers, eliciting exclamations from passing children and photographs from curious bystanders.
Pinnacles National Park is the newest national park in the United States, acquiring this status in 2013 after being originally established as a national monument by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. The park features dramatic volcanic rock formations including high peaks, caves, and highly-featured walls that are well suited to rock climbing. The peaks rising above the surrounding farms and grasslands host one of the highest densities of prairie falcons in North America as well as reintroduced California condors and a growing population of peregrine falcons. Other wildlife include coyote, bobcat, California quail, golden eagle, and cougar.
Rock climbing has a long history in Pinnacles, which has seen first ascents throughout the development of the sport in the United States from the 1930s through modern times. The local climbing community has a strict ground-up bolting policy forbidding bolting on rappel. Resulting sport climbs have a natural flow but do not always offer convenient protection on crux moves. Though the volcanic rock is not as robust as the granite found in Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, numerous mineral crystals and other features make for routes that often give climbers many sequencing choices. These crystals are prone to being dislodged, however, so both climbers and belayers in Pinnacles should always wear helmets.
Brad Young's "Climber's Guide to Pinnacles National Monument" is a favorite among local climbers and provides excellent coverage of Tourist Trap and other crags within the park. Some popular routes at Tourist Trap include:
Rat Race (5.7)
Thrill Hammer (5.8)
Nipple Jam (5.8)