devils postpile national monument

Devils Postpile National Monument: Everything You Need to Know

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2024 Road Closure Update

From June 7 – September 15, 2024, the road to Devils Postpile will only be open on the weekends. Red’s Meadow Road is closed for reconstruction to stabilize the hillside over the next few years. The road will be closed from Sept 16 through the typical Winter closure.

ESTA Shuttle schedule:

  • Friday: 9 am – 7 pm
  • Saturday: 7 am – 7 pm
  • Sunday: 7 am – 7 pm (7 pm is the last shuttle but the road will close at 11 pm)
  • Labor Day Weekend: Fri 7 am – Mon 7 pm

Devils Postpile in California

Mammoth Lakes in California is full of wondrous places and amazing views, but one of the most unique and easy-to-access sights for visitors of all hiking levels is the Devil’s Postpile National Monument. The hexagonal basalt columns are a unique geological formation you have to see on your summer visit to Mammoth.

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devils postpile national monument

What is special about Devils Postpile?

Devils Postpile boasts a unique formation of towering basalt columns, resembling a symphony of hexagonal pillars crafted by nature’s own hand. This geological spectacle stands as a testament to the forces of volcanic activity and erosion, offering visitors a glimpse into the Earth’s ancient past and the awe-inspiring power of natural processes.

How was Devils Postpile formed?

The formation of Devils Postpile dates back millions of years to a time of volcanic activity and geological upheaval. As molten lava flowed from ancient volcanic vents, rapid cooling and crystallization occurred, giving rise to the distinctive hexagonal columns that characterize the monument today. Subsequent glacial movements and erosional forces further sculpted the landscape, revealing this natural masterpiece for generations to admire and cherish.

Embark on your own journey to Devils Postpile National Monument and discover the wonders that await amidst its scenic splendor and geological intrigue. Whether you’re drawn by its geological wonders, tranquil hiking trails, or simply the chance to reconnect with nature, this extraordinary destination promises an unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.

Why is it called the Devils Postpile?

The origin of the name “Devils Postpile” traces back to Native American folklore, where legends and stories were woven around this striking geological formation. While interpretations may vary, the name likely stems from the perceived otherworldly appearance of the towering columns, evoking a sense of wonder and mystery that continues to captivate visitors to this day.

devils postpile trailhead

How long is the Devils Postpile hike?

The hike to Devil’s Postpile varies in length depending on the route you choose, but the most common trail is 0.8 miles out and back and starts from the Devil’s Postpile Ranger Station. 

The hike leads you through lush forests and alongside the picturesque Middle Fork San Joaquin River. However, additional trails branching off from the main path offer opportunities for extended exploration, catering to hikers of all skill levels and preferences.

Pro Tip: Extend your hike to Rainbow Falls for a 5-mile hike total, 2.5 miles one way.

devils postpile national monument mammoth hike

Is Devils Postpile worth visiting?

Absolutely! A visit to Devils Postpile promises a mesmerizing journey through ancient geology and pristine wilderness. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer seeking breathtaking landscapes or a casual traveler in search of natural beauty, the monument offers unparalleled opportunities for exploration, photography, and contemplation.

It’s a truly unique sight for California and reminds me of a mini version of the basalt columns in Iceland.

devils postpile national monument photos

Do you have to pay for Devils Postpile?

Entry to Devils Postpile National Monument is free but there are other costs associated with visiting the monument, such as the shuttle to get there.

Can I drive my car to Devils Postpile?

While private vehicles are not permitted beyond the Reds Meadow Shuttle Bus stop during peak season, access to the monument is convenient and hassle-free. 

How to get to Devils Postpile

You have to take the Reds Meadow Shuttle to access the Devils Postpile. You can pick this up from the Adventure Center in Mammoth Lakes or the Village at Mammoth. 

You can park at designated areas near the shuttle stop and enjoy a scenic ride to the monument entrance, allowing for a more sustainable and eco-friendly experience while minimizing traffic congestion in the sensitive ecosystem.

The trailhead starts from shuttle stop number 6.

Reds Meadow is typically open from June – September and the exact dates vary every year depending on the snow melt. 

Reds Meadow Shuttle

A ticket gives you unlimited access to jump on and off the shuttle that day. 

Prices are $15 for adults and $7 for children 3-15 years old. Children under 2 are free. You can find more information on the shuttle schedule here.

mammoth lakes ca

Where to stay in Mammoth Lakes

  • Budget-friendly: The Mammoth Inn is a small boutique hotel with free parking and only 5 mins from Main Street.
  • Mid-range: Austria Hof Lodge — This cute Beaux Arts-inspired hotel is smaller with less natural light but clean with free parking. There’s a full-size bar and lounge inside so try to not stay in a room near the bar as it can be a bit loud. This lodge is only a 5-minute walk to Mammoth Mountain and a close drive to the main town center.
  • Luxury: The Westin Monache Resort —This modern hotel is conveniently located in the middle of Mammoth Lakes. Step out of your hotel into all of the main shopping centers and restaurants. The hotel is very nice and clean, spacious, has a cozy fireplace in the room, and the lobby even had free wine and hot chocolate each afternoon during our winter stay last year. There is a free parking garage as well as valet options.
  • Click here to see full Mammoth Lakes camping guide 🏕️

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, experience, or any questions below 🙂
Please share any updates below if you’ve visited!

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    6 thoughts on “Devils Postpile National Monument: Everything You Need to Know”

    1. The Devils Postpile National Monument seems like a fascinating place! The hexagonal basalt columns formed by volcanic activity and erosion sound particularly interesting. It’s great that the monument offers hiking trails for all skill levels, so it would be accessible to a wide range of visitors.

      1. It definitely is! We don’t have too many places with this unique geological formation in California and it’s such an easy hike for anyone! 🙂

    2. This is actually on my list as I’m heading up to Mammoth Lakes this upcoming Monday, staying in Bishop, CA to explore the area. I’d love to see Rainbow Falls as well!

      1. Hey Christy, the road to access these spots are still closed until late Spring typically but you’ll have to make a trip back out in the summer! While you’re out in Mammoth though, stop by Stellar Cafe for a hot chocolate and the best (& $$$) vegan chocolate chip cookie if you’re into sweets! See more food spots on my 395 Hwy post 🙂

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