Devils Postpile National Monument

Devils Postpile National Monument

Quick Facts

Devils Postpile National Monument

California

(760) 934-2289

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Established in 1911 by presidential proclamation, Devils Postpile National Monument protects and preserves the Devils Postpile formation, the 101-foot Rainbow Falls, and the pristine mountain scenery. The Devils Postpile formation is a rare sight in the geologic world and ranks as one of the world's finest examples of columnar basalt. Its columns tower 60-feet high and display an unusual symmetry.

Another wonder is in store just downstream from the Postpile at Rainbow Falls, once called a gem unique and worthy of its name. When the sun is overhead, a bright rainbow highlights the spectacular Falls. The monument is also a portal to the High Sierra backcountry, with some 75% included in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. At 800 acres, Devils Postpile National Monument may be considered small by some, yet its natural and recreational values abound. Camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and winter sports are some activities you can enjoy while visiting. Although the monument is closed in the winter and spring months, annual snowfall of over 400 inches provided a winter recreation paradise for determined visitors who venture into the valley. The park is accessed by shuttle bus. Tickets can be purchased at the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center located in the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Gondola Building adjacent to the Mammoth Mountain Inn at the top of Highway 203. Buses run every 20 or 30 minutes.

Map of Devils Postpile

Latitude, Longitude: 37.630043, -119.084475

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    *Road Biking*

    Cycling the road into the Red's Meadow Valley is certainly a scenic adventure. If you are interested in biking into Reds Meadow, please consider the following advisories:

    To avoid head-on collisions, do not pass stopped or slowed traffic as they may be waiting for an oncoming vehicle to pass safely.

    On the downhill stretch into Reds Meadow, the road speed limit is 15 mph. Under California State Law, this speed limit applies to both cyclists and vehicles.

    Downhill traffic must yield to uphill traffic and must stay to the right.

    The road is narrow, winding and steep. Make sure your brakes are in good shape before beginning your descent.

    Riding into the valley during peak visitation times (11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) is not recommended.

    Bikes will be loaded and unloaded only at the Adventure Center and at Red's Meadow Resort if space is available.

    Buses can only take 2 bicycles per bus and only if the bus has space available.

    Be advised: there is a speed bump on the road into Devils Postpile National Monument.

    Helmets are recommended for all riders and are required for riders under 18 years of age.

    All cyclists ride at their own risk. Please look after both your safety and the safety of others on the road. If cyclists ride the shuttle buses out of the valley, they must pay the transportation fee. Those who cycle in and out of the valley are exempt from the fee.

    *Mountain Biking*

    Mountain biking is generally not permitted in the Reds Meadow Valley and is not permitted anywhere in Devils Postpile National Monument. The one exception to this is the Starkweather Trail, which starts either at Starkweather Lake or at the Minaret Vista. Mountain biking is only allowed on this trail AFTER the shuttle buses have stopped running for the season, which is generally the Wednesday after Labor Day. This is also a popular hiking trail, so ride cautiously. The nearby town of Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding Forest Service land offers endless mountain biking possibilities.

  • Camping

    Wilderness permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. Although they encourage backpackers to acquire their wilderness permits from the Inyo National Forest, the staff at Devils Postpile can issue first come, first served permits for trips originating out of trailheads within Reds Meadow Valley. These walk-in permits are free of charge. Permits can be issued for the day of entry or the day before (starting at 11a.m.). Reservations are not available through the Devils Postpile Ranger Station. Backcountry users interested in obtaining a reservation must contact the Inyo National Forest's Wilderness Permit Office at (760) 873-2485. There is a fee for all reservations made through the Inyo National Forest.

    In addition, The Monument features a 21-site first-come, first-served campground. Fees apply. The campground typically opens in mid-June and stays open through Columbus Day Weekend in October. The campground features flush toilets and running water. Each site is equipped with a picnic table, firepit, and bear-proof locker. Showers and RV hook-ups are not available. The nearest showers are available at Reds Meadow Campground and are open to the public.

    Only a few of the monument's campsites can accommodate campers and trailers over 30 feet in length. (On average, most site lengths range between 20 and 25 feet.) Anything larger than that is not advisable. In addition, the small size of the campground and its two loops makes negotiating turns with an extra long vehicle very challenging.

  • Fishing

    The San Joaquin River is a designated Wild Trout River with ample fishing opportunities for all abilities. With a valid California fishing license, anglers can keep up to five fish. Venturing further from the parking lot, away from Soda Springs Meadow, will give you a bit more solitude, but there is plenty of fishing near the parking lot. If you do head out along the river bank to fish, please use established trails and limit your impact. Please help preserve the river for wildlife and other anglers by packing out all trash and fishing line. Other fishing opportunities are available at nearby Sotcher and Starkweather Lakes. For more information on regulations and limits, please visit the California Department of Fish and Game site..

  • Hiking

    There are about eight miles of trails in Devils Postpile National Monument. The trails offer a variety of opportunities for all fitness levels. Expanding your hiking outside the boundaries of the Monument will take you into the High Sierra of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. If hiking with your pet, make sure it is on a leash at all times within the Monument. All of the following distances are from the Devils Postpile trailhead. Devils Postpile is an easy 0.4 mile one way hike to the base. The top of the Postpile is another 15 minutes uphill. Rainbow Falls is a rolling, mostly downhill, 2.5 mile one way hike to Rainbow Falls; the trailhead begins at the Ranger Station. This hike can be hot and dry in the summer, so bring plenty of water. Minaret Falls is an easy 1.4 mile hike to a cascading waterfall just outside the Monument boundary.

    Also, check out the multiple destinations within day hiking distance from Devils Postpile in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Minaret and Fern Lakes are just a couple of the destinations you could visit. Asking rangers for help is a great place to start when planning these activities.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horses have long been an important part of exploring the Sierra. Commercial pack trips are available in the valley through the Reds Meadow Pack Station, but visitors are welcome to bring their own stock. The trail from the ranger station to Devils Postpile is not open to stock use, but there are several other options. There is no stock trailer parking at Devils Postpile National Monument, but visitors may use the Rainbow Falls, Agnew Meadows or Red Meadow parking areas.

  • Picnicking

    There are no restaurants or concession-operated facilities within the Monument.

    The only eating establishment within Reds Meadow Valley can be found at Reds Meadow Resort at the Mule House Cafe. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served throughout the summer. Reservations are recommended for dinner.

    In addition to the cafe, there is also a small general store that sells an assortment of grocery items and camping supplies.

  • Winter Sports

    Snowshoeing and skiing are great winter sports to explore at the park. The Reds Meadow Valley, although closed to vehicles in the winter, is available to backcountry skiers and snowshoers. This is a true winter wilderness experience and travel into the valley can be hazardous. For those with proper avalanche safety skills and physical conditioning, however, the valley offers outstanding touring and provides a gateway to the High Sierra backcountry. There are NO facilities available in the valley in the winter and all travelers should be prepared to be self sufficient.

    Snowmobiles are allowed on the Reds Meadow Road, but are not permitted on the road to Devils Postpile or anywhere within the boundaries of the monument. Please be respectful of this regulation.

    Winter travel in the valley can be a beautiful and rewarding experience. Research your trip ahead of time, checking the weather and avalanche forecasts. Check with the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for updated reports throughout the winter.

Seasonality/Weather

Devils Postpile National Monument is closed during winter months and is open typically from mid-June through mid-October. Winter is also a great time to visit if you are ready to ski or snowshoe through the terrain. Trips into the Reds Meadow Valley are not for novice backcountry travelers. Check with the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center at (760) 924-5510 for current avalanche conditions, plan ahead, and it is best to not travel alone.

Park Partners

Sequoia Natural History Association (SNHA)

Sequoia Natural History Association (SNHA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting education, interpretation, research and the natural and historic preservation of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Devils Postpile National Monument and Lake Kaweah. SNHA is committed to enriching the experiences of visitors and promoting public awareness of the significance of public lands through educational programs, publications and financial support.

(559) 565-3759

Directions

Driving

From U.S. Highway 395, drive 10 miles west on S.R. 203 to Minaret Vista and then another 8 miles on a paved, steep mountain road. Please note that this road is single lane for approximately three miles. Most visitors must park at the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and use the mandatory shuttle. The shuttle bus operates from mid-June through the Wednesday after Labor Day.

Exceptions to the shuttle system are those visitors who drive into the Reds Meadow Valley before 7 a.m. or after 7:30 p.m., or who are overnight guests of Reds Meadow Resort, who are camping within the Reds Meadow Valley, who are hauling stock trailers, whose vehicles are carrying small watercraft for use in the lakes, or who need further accessibility accommodations.

Shuttle bus tickets can be purchased at the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center located in the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Gondola Building adjacent to the Mammoth Mountain Inn at the top of Highway 203. Buses run every 20 or 30 minutes. When buses are not running, visitors must pay a standard amenity fee at the Minaret Vista Station.

Flying

Mammoth Lakes/Yosemite Airport (MMH), located on California Highway 395 just south of Mammoth Lakes. Although there is currently only one flight each day into Mammoth Lakes during the summer months, the airport is only about 40 minutes from Devils Postpile National Monument. Mammoth Car Rental (760) 934-2271, Enterprise Rent-A-Car (760) 924-1094 and Hertz Car Rental (760) 924-1094 all rent cars from this location. In addition, one can contact Mammoth Taxi (760) 934-8294 or (760) 924-TAXI and Mammoth Cab Mammoth Cab: (760) 924-2227 to take a taxi to Devils Postpile National Monument.

After arranging ground transportation travel from the Mammoth Lakes/Yosemite Airport drive north on CA Highway 395 to the Mammoth Lakes/Highway 203 exit. Turn left at the stop sign onto State Route 203 into Mammoth Lakes.

The next closest airport is the Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO). A large selection of rental cars can be contracted through this airport (http://renoairport.com/to-from-airport/rental-cars-reno-tahoe-international-airport/). From Reno, drive south on U.S. Highway 395 for approximately 3 hours (170 miles) to State Route 203.

Public Transportation

From July 1 through September 1, YARTS offers daily bus service from Yosemite Valley to the town of Mammoth Lakes. Call 1-877-989-2787 or visit www.yarts.com. From late June to early September, day-use visitors to the Devils Postpile/Reds Meadow area must ride the shuttle bus.

Shuttle bus tickets can be purchased at the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center located in the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Gondola.

For those visitors wanting to bike down to the Postpile, bicycles are allowed down the road free of charge. If, however, visitors choose not to ride back out of the Valley and opt to use the shuttle instead, they must pay the shuttle bus fee. The buses will transport bicycles if space is available.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(760) 934-2289

Permits

(760) 873-2485

Links