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Devils Postpile
Trailhead

Devils Postpile

 
Devils Postpile

Page Type: Trailhead

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 37.63050°N / 119.0851°W

Object Title: Devils Postpile

County: Mono

Season: Summer, Fall

Elevation: 7500 ft / 2286 m

 

Page By: Matthew Holliman

Created/Edited: Mar 31, 2006 / Mar 31, 2006

Object ID: 184871

Hits: 6545 

Page Score: 79.04%  - 10 Votes 

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Overview

Most people heading to Devils Postpile National Monument are there to see the namesake geologic formation, a dark cliff of columnar basalt located just a few miles west of the popular resort town of Mammoth Lakes, California. If they're ambitious, some of them might choose to walk south a mile or two to see Rainbow Falls, a beautiful cascade along the Middle Fork San Joaquin River. But despite all the thousands of tourists who ride the tour buses through the valley each year to take in these sights, few of them ever head west into the heart of the even more spectacular Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Their loss is your gain. Just a few miles away from the crowds is some of the most awe-inspiring scenery to be found in the wilderness. The trailhead leads to the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as the southern approach to Cecile Lake. A number of worthwhile peaks can be accessed from here, including the Minarets, Iron Mountain, and the peaks of the Silver Divide.

There is developed camping near the trailhead; see the links below for details. Also nearby is the Reds Meadow pack station.

For further information, also see the main Devils Postpile page.

Driving Directions

From Mammoth Lakes, follow SR203 past Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Follow SR203 over Minaret Summit and down into the valley of the Middle Fork San Joaquin River. Continue past the turnoff for Agnew Meadows for another 4 miles south on SR203 to the end of the road at Devils Postpile.

Day use parking is located near the ranger cabin, overnight parking is a quarter mile north along the road.

As with Agnew Meadows, be forewarned that the road is closed to passenger vehicles during the day. See the red tape section below for details.

Red Tape

The Devils Postpile trailhead is subject to all the same red tape as Agnew Meadows.

Permits


Wilderness permits are required for overnight stays in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Please consult the main Ansel Adams Wilderness page for details on obtaining permits for the Devils Postpile trailhead. No permits are required for dayhikes.

Trailhead access


Minaret Road (SR 203) is closed to passenger vehicles beyond Minaret Summit from 7am to 7.30pm each day. Between those times, visitors are required to ride a shuttle bus ($7/person) from the Mammoth Mountain Inn into Devils Postpile National Monument. (See here for details). The gates are unmanned outside these hours, and it is possible to drive in if you need to get an early start. The shuttle bus runs throughout the valley; it's worth noting that the bus can be ridden for free within here, even if you've driven in, allowing for convenient shuttles between trailheads.

If you exit the Reds Meadow area when the gates are manned, you must pay the same per-person fee. Note that despite the fact that the area is managed by the NPS, NPS park passes are not accepted here! If this offends you, as it does me, it's possible to turn left before the gate to reach the Minaret Vista point, and then exit from the vista point on the other side of the gate, avoiding the attendant altogether.

When To Visit

The trailhead is most easily reached in the summer months (and moreover, most easily done so in early morning or late at night--see the red tape above for details).

Minaret Summit Road is closed from the middle of October until sometime in the spring, typically around late May or early June depending on the winter's snowfall. During these months, it would be necessary to park at Mammoth Mountain ski resort (you must obtain a special parking permit from the resort if parking there overnight), and hike in about 8 miles to the usual summer trailhead. Devils Postpile is a popular snowmobile destination in winter, so don't expect solitude on the hike in.

External Links

Inyo National Forest - Reds Meadow area campgrounds

SR 203 road conditions

NPS Devils Postpile National Monument information

climber.org driving directions

Images

A strange end view of the...Devil\'s Postpile near...The very top of the PostpileA full view of the Main PostpileThe top of Devils PostpileSome mini PostpilesMe in front of Devils Postpile
Sign in front of Devils PostpileTrail right next to the tops of some PostpilesTrail next to some mini PostpilesFirst view of the Devils PostpileSign at Devils Postpile