Hikes in Devils Postpile National Monument

Devils Postpile National Monument is located near Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. At the south end of the monument, you’ll find the lovely 101-foot tall Rainbow Falls. The monument’s main attraction is the Devils Postpile Formation, which has unique 60-foot tall cliffs made of basalt columns.

Devils Postpile National Monument is surrounded by Inyo National Forest (which includes Ansel Adams Wilderness). The park is shaped similar to a column of basalt. Looking down from above, the park is a long north-south rectangle that covers 800 acres.

Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Postpile

Devils Postpile was protected as part of Yosemite National Park in 1890, but it lost that protection 15 years when plans were put forth to destroy the postpile formation. The park guide explains:

Originally part of Yosemite National Park, Devils Postpile lost its protective status in 1905 with pressure from local mining interests. They planned to dynamite the postpile to make a rock dam on the river. This threatened not only the postpile formation and falls, but this vital watershed. Activists persuaded President William Howard Haft to restore federal protection to Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls by proclaiming the national monument in 1911.

Postpile National Monument Hiking in

This group of trails in Devils Postpile National Monument all start from the same trailhead at the north end of the monument. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these trails. An interactive map showing the location of each trail is also provided.

Devils PostpileDevils Postpile
This 1 to 1.35-mile hike visits the columnar basalt cliff that Devils Postpile National Monument is named after, with top-down and bottom-up views of the impressive formation. The hike can be extended to include Rainbow Falls at the south end of the monument.
Rainbow FallsRainbow Falls
This hike of 5.1 miles or more passes the Devils Postpile Formation to reach an attractive 101-foot waterfall with rainbows in its mist.
Minaret FallsMinaret Falls
This 3-mile hike from Devils Postpile National Monument connects with Pacific Crest Trail to reach the base of a waterfall that tumbles and slides down a rocky slope.

 

Camping in Postpile National Monument

Devils Postpile National Monument CampgroundDevils Postpile National Monument Campground
This 21-site first-come first-serve campground provides camping in a pine forest next the Middle Fork San Joaquin River near the trailhead for Devils Postpile National Monument.

 

View Sierra Nevada trails and campground in a larger map
Or explore hikes around Devils Postpile National Monument on the Hike Finder Map
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Ediza Lake - Thousand Island Lake Loop Ansel Adams Wilderness High Trail Hike Pacific Crest Trail John Muir Trail Thousand Island Garnet Ediza Lakes Loop Inyo National Forest Mammoth Lakes Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains California
The Ediza Lake – Thousand Island Lake Loop is a top-tier backpacking circuit in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Covering about 25 miles with 2,110 feet of elevation change, the loop is usually done in three days of hiking (not including any additional layover days). The loop starts and ends at Agnew Meadows, located near Devils Postpile National Monument and the city of... Read more.
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Tagged with · Ansel Adams Wilderness · John Muir Trail · Lakes · Mammoth Lakes · Pacific Crest Trail
Distance: 23.75 miles · Elevation change: 2110 feet
By: Published: Last updated: April 5, 2017
Thousand Island Lake Ansel Adams Wilderness High Trail Hike Pacific Crest Trail Inyo National Forest Mammoth Lakes Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains California
Thousand Island Lake is regarded as one of the most spectacular lakes in the Eastern Sierra. Banner Peak, a towering 12,936-foot mountain above the lake's west shore, is reflected in its clear blue water. The lake has numerous (if not a thousand) small islands. Both John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail pass Thousand Island Lake, giving hikers significant and scenic... Read more.
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Tagged with · Ansel Adams Wilderness · Lakes · Mammoth Lakes · Pacific Crest Trail
Distance: 8.75 miles · Elevation change: 1515 feet
By: Published: Last updated: April 5, 2017
Garnet Lake Hike John Muir Trail Ansel Adams Wilderness Inyo National Forest Mammoth Lakes Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains California
Garnet Lake is located on John Muir Trail between Shadow Lake and Thousand Island Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of Inyo National Forest. The lake is stunning, set below the 12,936-foot mass of Banner Peak and framed by ridges of bedrock and pines. Hiking directly there, Garnet Lake is 8.55 miles from the trailhead at Agnew Meadows, so most of the lake's visitors are... Read more.
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Tagged with · Ansel Adams Wilderness · John Muir Trail · Lakes · Mammoth Lakes
Distance: 5.65 miles · Elevation change: 1130 feet
By: Published: Last updated: April 5, 2017
Iceberg Lake Hike Ansel Adams Wilderness Inyo National Forest Mammoth Lakes Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains California Iceberg Lake Trail from Ediza Lake
Cradled below a jagged ridge of volcanic peaks called the Minarets, Iceberg Lake is a beautiful, potentially snow-bordered or ice-filled lake of vivid blue water. The backcountry lake is located deep in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of Inyo National Forest, 8.3 miles from the trailhead at Agnew Meadows. Iceberg Lake is just a mile from Ediza Lake and a nice extension for... Read more.
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Tagged with · Ansel Adams Wilderness · Lakes · Mammoth Lakes
Distance: 2 miles · Elevation change: 510 feet
By: Published: Last updated: April 6, 2017
Ediza Lake Ansel Adams Wilderness Inyo National Forest Mammoth Lakes Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains California Shadow Creek Trail Ediza Lake Hike
With high summit-reflecting waters, Ediza Lake is beautiful to behold. The lake is wrapped by meadows and trees and sports massive views of Mount Ritter and Banner Peak, making it a popular destination for hikers in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of Inyo National Forest. Starting from Agnew Meadows near Mammoth Lakes, Ediza Lake is reachable on a rewarding full day hike of... Read more.
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Tagged with · Ansel Adams Wilderness · Creeks · John Muir Trail · Lakes · Mammoth Lakes
Distance: 15 miles · Elevation change: 1250 feet
By: Published: Last updated: April 6, 2017