Devils Postpile National Monument

Devils Postpile National Monument

Planning Your Visit

Things To Know Before You Come

Devils Postpile National Monument is located in the heart of California's Eastern Sierra. As such, a wide variety of recreational activities is available in the region. Within the Monument's nearly 800 acres, visitors can explore the area's unqiue geology, take a day-hike along the John Muir or Pacific Crest trails, or simply enjoy a meal in our day-use area alongside the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin river. From camping, backpacking, and day hikes to fishing, photography, and horseback riding, there's something to do for everyone!

While planning your upcoming visit, it is important to remember that Devils Postpile National Monument is only open during the summer months.

Although opening dates can vary depending on snow conditions, the Monument usually opens in mid-June. By mid to late October, early winter storms in the High Sierra typically begin to cover the area with a white blanket of snow. For the next seven months, the Monument will lie buried beneath the snowpack until the spring melt wrestles the area from winter's grasp.

Operating Hours & Seasons

Opening
The Monument is only open during the summer season. The Monument is planned to open on June 7, 2008, this date may change due to weather conditions. The Reds Meadow Mandatory Shuttle Bus will begin operation on June 14, 2008

Closing
A projected date of closing for the 2008 season has not yet been determined.

Ranger Station Hours
The Monument's Ranger Station is opened daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Guided walks with a Ranger to the Postpile are available daily at 11:00am.

Fees & Reservations

The monument is planned to open on Saturday June 7, 2008 this date is subject to change due to weather conditions. The Reds Meadow Mandatory Shuttle will begin operation on June 14, 2008.

FEES
All visitors, regardless if they use the mandatory shuttle system, are camping, or drive their own vehicle, must pay a transportation fee in order to enter Reds Meadow Valley.  Once paid, this fee is valid for the duration of your stay. The U.S. Forest Service accepts cash, check, or credit card in U.S. Dollars for the payment of this fee.

NOTE: The shuttle buses are not ADA accessible. Disabled visitors who can provide proof of physical handicap are permitted to drive down to the Monument. They must still pay the transportation fee.

Adults - $7.00
Children (3 to 15 years of age) - $4.00
Groups staying overnight in Reds Meadow Valley - $20.00 car cap**
2007 3-day pass*** - $14.00

2007 Season Pass - $35.00

**For example, if there are 5 individuals in one vehicle who are camping in Reds Meadow Valley, rather than pay $35.00 for the vehicle's transportation fee, only $20.00 would be charged.

***This pass, valid for one adult, can be used towards the transportation fee for any three days within a 5-day period.

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL PASSES, GOLDEN PASSPORTS, and NATIONAL PARK PASSES
America the Beautiful Passes, Golden Passports, and National Park Passes are not accepted for this fee under the new Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Please read more about this below under the section "Why is there a transportation fee?"

SHUTTLE TICKETS
Shuttle bus tickets can be purchased at the Forest Service Adventure Center located in the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Gondola Building adjacent to the Mammoth Mountain Inn at the top of Highway 203. Passengers can pick up the shuttle bus at this location.*

SHUTTLE HOURS OF OPERATION
Generally, the shuttle bus is in operation from mid-June through mid-September. For the 2008 summer season the shuttle will begin operation on Saturday June 14. Start and end dates vary every year, so it is best to confirm these dates by contacting Devils Postpile or the Mammoth Lakes Ranger Station at (760) 924-5500.

The first bus of the day leaves from Mammoth Mountain Ski Area at 7:00am.

The last bus from Mammoth Mountain into Reds Meadow Valley/Devils Postpile leaves at 7:00pm.

The last bus out of Reds Meadow Valley from Devils Postpile leaves at 7:45pm.

Buses run every 20 or 30 minutes.

*Through hikers and backpackers who arrive in Reds Meadow Valley/Devils Postpile by trail can board the shuttle at any of the ten shuttle stops within the Valley. Inter-valley travel on the shuttle is free of charge to all riders. Hikers, backpackers, bikers, and other users who choose to ride the bus out of the Valley back to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area must purchase their tickets upon exiting the Valley at the Minaret Vista Check Station.

RESERVATIONS

Reservations are not available for the Monument. The Monument's campground is first come, first served and sites cost $16.00/night. The campground will open on June 7, 2008, this date is subject to change due to weather conditions.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE SHUTTLE BUS
Exceptions to the shuttle system are those visitors who drive into the Valley before 7:00am or after 7:30pm, 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 can provide proof of physical handicap.

PET OWNERS
Dogs on leash are allowed on buses at the discretion of the bus driver.

WHY IS THERE A TRANSPORTATION FEE?
Many visitors are confused by the jurisdiction of the shuttle bus operation and why federal park passes are not accepted. The area of Reds Meadow Valley that surrounds Devils Postpile National Monument is actually land administered by the U.S. Forest Service. Therefore, the Forest Service maintains and controls access of the road. The National Park Service does not charge any access fee for the Monument itself, but rather the Forest Service charges a transportation fee for the use of the road.

In December 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) which partially repealed the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCFA) that covered how Golden Passports, National Park Passes, and America the Beautiful Passes were to be issued and accepted on federal lands. Golden Passports, National Park, and America the Beautiful Passes were originally for entrance fees into National Parks, National Monuments, and National Scenic Areas. Under the FLREA, Golden Passports, National Park, and America the Beautiful Passes are still valid where entrance fees are charged, and are now valid for standard amenity fees. These passes, however, are not valid for expanded amenity fees. Expanded fees are those that provide direct benefits to individuals or groups. They include items like transportation systems, developed campgrounds, cabin rentals, highly developed boat docks, and swimming areas. With the passing of the FLREA, the Reds Meadow Transportation System has been designated as an expanded amenity fee area.

The shuttle system has been in effect for the last 28 years. Prior to that, the number of cars entering the Valley far exceeded the number of available parking spaces. This extreme traffic congestion resulted in safety hazards, visitors finding themselves stuck in their cars and mired in gridlock, as well as illegal parking which led to soil compaction and the destruction of plants. Moreover, the steep single-lane road that winds its way down to the bottom of the Valley over a distance of ten miles is, for some, quite stressful. Without the shuttle system, RVs, stock trailers, large and small vehicles, as well as bicyclists would all be forced to share the road unchecked. Additionally, without the shuttle, the number of vehicles entering the Valley would need to be limited due to the significant shortfall of available parking. The mandatory shuttle system has significantly reduced traffic, allowed more visitors to access the Valley, permitted the area to recover, and once again, visitors enjoy a more pristine and hassle-free experience during their stay in the Valley and Monument.

Accessibility

Day Use Area and Campground
Devils Postpile National Monument is continuously improving the accessibility of its facilities. Currently, there are two ADA-compliant comfort stations (bathrooms) within the Monument's day-use and campground areas. 

A variety of wheelchair-friendly picnic tables and campfire pits are provided throughout the day-use area. A wheel-chair accessible ramp facilitates entrance to the Ranger Station for disabled visitors. 

Additionally, the Monument's campground features one ADA-compliant site.

Trails
Although our day-use and campground facilities are equipped with ADA-accessible features, the 0.4 mile trail to the Postpile formation is not yet fully accessible.

The start of the trail, which is a hard-packed gravel path leading from the Ranger Station to the eastern edge of Soda Springs meadow, can be accessed by wheelchair. Beyond this point, however, the trail continues uphill towards the formation and a series of tree roots, uneven surfaces, and pumice soil make wheelchair access difficult and unsafe in some areas. While some visitors attempt assisted wheelchair access between the meadow and the section of trail just shy of the formation, it is important to remember that there is a steep slope with steps leading down from this point to the base of the formation which prevents any kind of wheelchair access.

While the steep slope and granite steps leading down to the base of the formation as well as to the top of the columns remain unaccessible, plans are underway for the installation of a new wheelchair accessible overlook which will be installed in the next few years.

The trail to Rainbow Falls is not accessible.

Contact Information

Address
Devils Postpile National Monument
P.O. Box 3999
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

For official park map and guide requests, please address your correspondence with "ATTN: information request."

Phone
(760) 934-2289

Directions

By Plane
The closest commercial airport is in Reno, Nevada. From Reno, drive south on U.S. Highway 395 for approximately 3 hours (170 miles) to State Route 203.

By Car
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 end of September.

Exceptions to the shuttle system are those visitors who drive into the Valley before 7:00 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 can provide proof of physical handicap.

All visitors to the area, whether they take the mandatory shuttle bus or drive their personal vehicle, must pay a transportation fee. The fees are as follows: $7 for adults, $4 for children (3 to 15 years of age), or a $20.00 car cap for groups who are staying overnight in Reds Meadow Valley. Season passes are available for $35.00. Golden Passports, America the Beautiful, and National Park Passes are not valid for this transportation fee under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.

Shuttle bus tickets can be purchased at the Forest Service 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.

By Bicycle
For those visitors keen 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 transportation fee.  The shuttle buses are equipped to transport bicycles.

Public Transportation

Regional Bus Service
From mid-June through mid-September, YARTS offers daily bus service from Yosemite Valley to the town of Mammoth Lakes. Please call 1-877-989-2787 or visit www.yarts.com for the most current schedule.

Additionally, The Crest bus service provides low-cost transportation between Reno and Bishop on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays as well as between Mammoth Lakes and Ridgecrest on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. For more information, please contact Inyo-Mono Transit at (800) 922-1930.

Local Area Public Transportation
For those visitors who hiked into the valley, the Reds Meadow Shuttle is a free service for inter-valley travelers. The Town of Mammoth Lakes also provides a free trolley service during the summer months which offers several stops throughout the downtown area as well as one at the Village. From there, visitors can catch a ride on Mammoth Mountain Ski Area's Bike Park Shuttle to the Ski Area where the Reds Meadow Shuttle embarks for the valley.

Weather

Devils Postpile National Monument is located at 7,560 feet above sea level just west of the Sierra Nevada crest.  As such, it experiences typical Sierran summer weather.

Afternoon thunderstorms are a recurring feature in July and August. Daytime temperatures can range from the mid-70s to low 90s (degrees fahrenheit).  Evening temperatures can drop into the low 40s (and even the low 30s in the months of September and October).

Soda Springs Meterological Station
In the fall of 2005, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, California Department of Water Resources, and the National Park Service cooperatively worked to install a new meteorologic (met) station in Soda Springs Meadow. The station will provide important data for climate research and the management of California's water resources.

This new met station measures ambient air temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity, surface radiation, wind speed, wind direction, and precipitation. In addition, it is equipped with snow pillows—instruments that can detect the amount of water content in the snow pack.

Data from the Soda Springs weather station is uploaded daily and can be viewed year-round in graph format by visiting Scripps' website.