Summary: This easy hike include two of natures wonders. From the parking area, follow the well marked trail about a half mile to Devils Postpile. The Postpile is an amazing set of crystallized vertical columns of lava, caused by differing rates of cooling. I truly looks line the devil pushed giant posts up from under the earth!
Continue on the trail about 2 miles, following the well marked signs towards Rainbow Falls, enjoying the lovely San Joaquin river along the way. Rainbow falls is a staggering spectacle, plunging 100 foot over a shear cliff into a lovely horseshoe shaped amphitheater. You can walk along the rocks near enough to feel the mist of the falls.
Return on the same trail, branching tight at about the half mile mark, taking to trail towards Reds Meadow resort where a cool drink and the shuttle bus awaits.
Trailhead: From 395, exit at Mammoth Lakes Junction (highway 203) , turn left, and follow the road through town. Turn right at Minaret Road and follow the signs to the Mammoth ski resort. During the summer, you are required to take a shuttle bus down into Red's Meadow. Have the driver drop you off at the Devils Postpile parking area. You will pick the shuttle bus up again at the Red's Meadow Resort for the return trip back to your car. (Lat:37.63001 Lon:-119.08477)
Trail Guides for Devils Postpile - Rainbow Falls:
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown (Foghorn Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Mammoth Ranger Station 760-924-5500
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by o.o on 9/15/2010
Reviewed by Yvonne C on 9/6/2009
I hiked this yesterday with my 5 year old daughter who has never hiked in her life. We were able to do it, but not without her complaining. I was able to distract her by playing games. It also helped that we saw some deer, fish, a snake, chipmunks and squirrels along the way. We're from Orange County and she's never really seen wild animals before. It was definitely worth it. Absolutely stunning!
Reviewed by Dwight on 12/27/2007
Get there in early AM before ranger mans the gate and you can drive down to trail head (don't worry, they'll get you on the way out). You'll have your nice car waiting for you when you return and youâ€™ll miss all the tourists being bussed in. As you are finishing your hike you pass hordes of people headed for the falls. For those with unhappy children asking how much further, you can tell or have some fun with them. Be sure you detour to top of postpile. Walking on the dome made from hexagon shaped pillars is cool. The main trail takes you past the dome showing the side view of the pillars. Make sure you hike to lower falls. Picturesque and you can swim. Take extra mole skin in case you spot a tourist in poor shoes broken down.
Reviewed by Nancy on 7/31/2007
I have never seen a place so beautiful. The walk to rainbow falls took my breath away. The burned forest [death] and the wild flowers [life]. WOW
Reviewed by Rick on 7/30/2007
Both the upper view and the lower view were incredible. From the lower view you can sneak a swim to the base of the falls. Be careful not to go into the falls, it can drag you under.
Reviewed by Eric on 7/6/2007
Excellent easy hike. I did the hike early July 07. Hop on the bus early to avoid the crowds, and definitely continue onto Lower Rainbow Falls. No people down there. There are many trails available for those who want to keep hiking around. The John Muir Trail goes through the Postpile area, so it's possible to create a longer dayhike if you so desire.
Reviewed by Andy on 6/26/2007
We hiked here in July 2006. It was very dog freindly and a great view the whole way. The air is great, but you have to remember the sunscreen for the burnt out areas. Very temperate for July also. We also did it with my 9 year ol (perfect for his age) and 2 year old on my shoulders... I highly recommend.
Reviewed by CAC on 2/23/2007
I remember taking this hike over 20 years ago. I still have fond memories of this hike! The formations are so interesting and it's just a great place to see. The top of the postpiles is a must see. You'll never see anything like it. This hike was definately worth the effort.
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