Take a Hike to Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls

Hiking to Devils Postpile National Monument to see the Devils Postpile and 101-foot Rainbow Falls is certainly one of the more scenic day trips you will find in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. You can anticipate the hikes taking about 3 to 5 hours, including periods to rest and take in the sights and sounds.

Quick Facts & Tips

  • The Devils Postpile National Monument is open from mid-June to October, with dates that vary depending on the weather.
  • We recommend planning a visit to this bucket list destination during the fall and midweek when there are fewer crowds.
  • If planning a visit during summer, plan to catch the first bus of the day for ease and convenience.
  • This is a full day activity

Devils Postpile

Devils Postpile is a stunning rock formation that was developed from the eruption of basalt lava less than 100,000 years ago. Postpile will capture your attention at first glance and features breathtaking columns that jet from the bottom of the cliffside to the top.

The columns can be viewed from different angles, providing some incredible photo opportunities. Here you can choose to take the short loop trail to the top of Postpile which has a minor elevation gain but is very manageable for some additional unique angles.

Hiking to Devils Postpile

Your adventure begins at the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center where the required Scenic Shuttle will take you to the Devils Postpile Ranger Station. The Devils Postpile site is 0.4 miles (.8 miles total) from the drop-off site with a clearly marked trail. The hiking trail is fairly flat and accessible for new hikers.

Photo Credit: Josh Wray

101-Foot Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is a sheer spectacle with its majestic roaring clear waters. It sends the San Joaquin River tumbling 101-feet down. The bottom of the falls offers breathtaking views, a welcoming mist, and some scenic areas to relax for the afternoon.

Rainbow Falls gets its name from the glowing rainbow coloration that captures your eyes. When the sun is at its highest point for the day, the falls often glow with rainbows that you will never forget.

Hiking to Rainbow Falls

From the Devils Postpile formation, you may continue on the main trail approximately 2.5 miles (5 miles round-trip) to Rainbow Falls. You’ll hit a junction where you can choose to go to Reds Meadow or Rainbow Falls – continue to Rainbow Falls and remember this spot, as this is where you can fork over to Red Meadows on the way back. You will cross over Boundary Creek, and then you will hear the roar of the falls before you see them as you approach.

A 2nd trailhead to Rainbow Falls is located at the Reds Meadow Pack Station & Resort. Hop on the Scenic Shuttle at the Devils Postpile Ranger Station to the Resort. This trail is slightly shorter (1.3 miles one-way/2.6 miles round-trip) and less strenuous of a hike. The hike to the waterfall isn’t necessary challenging, but the sun exposure and altitude can make this hike feel longer and harder than it is. Be sure to wear and reapply plenty of sunscreen. Carry and consume ample amounts of water and snacks, and take breaks “before” you feel fatigue.

A 3rd option is to go to the falls on horseback! Reds Meadow Pack Station offers two trips daily.

Photo Credit: Josh Wray

Mule House Cafe at Reds Meadow Resort

Once you’ve seen the falls, make a stop at the Mule House Cafe within the Reds Meadow Resort. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Afterwhich, you can simply wait for the Scenic Shuttle to take you back to the Mammoth Adventure Center.

Additional Tips for The Day

  • The shuttle bus is mandatory and driving is not allowed
  • Bring at least 1 liter of water per person
  • Bring mosquito repellant if you hike in the summer
  • Bring a camera or smartphone for some amazing photos
  • Remember to wear sunscreen as there are sections that aren’t shaded
  • Wear good hiking shoes for the trip instead of sandals

Getting Devils Postpile National Monument From 1849 Mountain Rentals

  • Take the bus from your 1849 Mountain Rentals condo to The Village at Mammoth.
  • Take the green line (Reds Meadow Scenic Shuttle) to Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center to purchase tickets and board the Scenic Shuttle into the National Monument
  • Tip #1: Enjoy coffee or breakfast and pick up provisions at The Village at Mammoth
  • Tip #2: Tickets are first-come, first-serve.

Book Your Trip

Book a cozy, mountainside condo where you can relax after a long day of hiking through the national monument.

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