Devils Postpile National Monument: A Short Hike to the Devil’s Postpile
Devils Postpile, which used to be part of Yosemite, is a collection of massive rocks that seemingly jut out of the earth’s surface, and it is one of the most unique natural wonders in California. This short hike is full of beautiful views and can be extended to visit the fantastic Rainbow Falls as well. Here is all the information if you want to check it out.
- 10 dollars to enter (as of 2014)
- .4 miles each way
- Lots of attractions in the area
- I wrote this in 2014
- If you want to hike from here to Rainbow Falls, check out this post
The Monument was once part of Yosemite National Park, but the discovery of gold in 1905 near Mammoth Lakes prompted a boundary change that left the Postpile on adjacent public land. Later, a proposal to build a hydroelectric dam called for blasting the Postpile into the river. Influential Californians, including John Muir, persuaded the federal government to stop the demolition, and in 1911, President William Howard Taft protected the area as a National Monument.
The Postpile’s columns average 2 feet in diameter, the largest being 3.5 feet, and many are up to 60 feet long. Together they look like tall posts stacked in a pile, hence the feature’s name. If the lava had cooled perfectly evenly, all of the columns would be expected to be hexagonal, but some of the columns have different polygonal cross-sections due to variations in cooling
During the summer months, you will need to ride the shuttle to get into the monument, but during the winter months, you can drive up yourself, weather permitting. After paying the fee, it is about 20 minutes down a windy road until you reach the small parking lot for the trailhead.
The trail is short but full of beautiful views. You immediately start in the Soda Lake area, which looks like it would be a fantastic place to relax.
The trail has a little up and a little down, but overall, it is pretty flat. There are even tree branches made into seats every 30 feet or so to relax on.
One of my favorite spots was this view right below; it was an amazing stop on the short trail, especially as the clouds rolled in.
After only a little time, Devils Postpile will come into view. It is much more amazing in person then it is in photos.
Also of note, there is a slope so that the Postpile from the bottom is wheelchair accessible, which is awesome.
There is not much to say about this that hasn’t been said before, so here are some of my favorite photos.
The Top of Devils Postpile
After taking in the view from below, I set out on the trail to the top. This trail is two switchbacks with a lot of stairs. It’s a good push to get to the top, but it comes quickly.
The top is just as crazy as the bottom. It has a pretty big area at the top of the rocks, and it shows the unique formation of the stones and their hexagon shape. It goes back further then I would have anticipated as well.
If you go down a little on the other side, you can see a lot of unique views of the upper Postpile area. Make sure to be careful as this spot is very close to the edge.
After that, you simply go back the way you came or continue on to Rainbow Falls, which is also accessible from here. All in all, this is a fantastic thing to see and should be on everyone’s list. There are not many other places in the world where formations like this exist. Let me know what you think in the comments.