PeaceJoyAustin

Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Devils Postpile National Monument

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  • Named for its famous unique volcanic rock formation
  • Contains gorgeous 101 foot Rainbow Falls
  • Just outside of Mammoth Lakes

When To Visit: Due to extreme winter weather, the park is only open mid-June through October

Climate: Dry and warm in summer with some afternoon thunderstorms, more moderate temperatures and precipitation in spring & fall

Location: Eastern Sierras 30 minutes west of Mammoth Lakes

This small park is conveniently located near many of the Eastern Sierras’ other popular destinations. The unique basalt columnar formation for which it is named is one of California’s most magnificent natural wonders and there are great surrounding trails that lead to other scenic spots.

Photo: Devil’s Postpile

What To See & Do in Devil’s Postpile

During most of Devils Postpile’s open season, the park can only be accessed via shuttle bus. Drive west from Mammoth Lakes on Highway 203 and park at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area to catch the bus, which runs very frequently and costs $7 round trip. After a 30 minute ride into the park, depart the bus and choose a trail on which to begin your journey.

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The top of Devils Postpile

Hikes

  • Devils Postpile Trail
    • 0.8 miles, out & back, 30 minutes-1 hour, easy
    • This short walk takes you to the park’s most dramatic feature
    • Once at the postpile, you can take side trails up to the top of the columns and connect to the park’s other trails
  • Rainbow Falls Trail
    • 5 miles, out & back, 2-3 hours, moderately strenuous
    • Takes you along a rushing creek and panoramic mountain views to this beautiful 101 foot waterfall with (you guessed it) frequent rainbows from the mist
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Rainbow Falls

Where To Stay & Eat in Devil’s Postpile

The Red’s Meadow Resort located at the Rainbow Falls Trailhead has a cafe and grocery store.

There is a small 20-site first-come, first-serve campground in the park and five other primarily first-come, first-serve campgrounds just outside the park boundaries.

There is no lodging in the park aside from some cabins at Red Meadows Resort, but tons of options 30 minutes east in the resort city of Mammoth Lakes.

Nearby Side Trips from Devil’s Postpile

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Heart Lake from Kearsage Pass Trail in the Eastern Sierras

Eastern Sierras: There’s much more to see in the Eastern Sierras region – some of the most beautiful views of the peaks and access to an abundance of lakes, rivers, and outdoor adventures. Read more.

Mammoth Lakes – This resort city just outside Devil’s Postpile hosts the most famous ski area in California and dozens of tranquil mountain lakes with excellent hiking, fishing, and boating.

Wild Willy’s Hot Springs – A series of rustic dirt roads that are (perhaps barely) accessible by any car take you to this gorgeous pair of natural hot springs in the middle of nowhere about an hour east of the park.

Yosemite National Park – Devil’s Postpile is just over an hour away from Yosemite’s east entrance, offering the perfect chance to explore the less-visited Tuolumne Meadows section of the park with quiet alpine lakes, green meadows, rushing rivers, and tall peaks.

 

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