A Geological Wonder
82,000 years ago, the unique mineral composition of lava flowing in the area created hexagonal columns as it slowly cooled and split. Glaciers later exposed one side of this geological formation, showcasing 60-foot high symmetrical columns, in what is now called Devils Postpile. Accessible via a shuttle bus and a short hike, Devils Postpile National Monument covers 800 acres, offering plenty of places to explore. We've paired a visit to Devils Postpile with a hike to Rainbow Falls, where you can see more effects of ancient volcanic activity along the San Joaquin River.
Until 1905, Devils Postpile was part of Yosemite National Park. With miners threatening to dynamite the Postpile to build a river dam, activists persuaded President Taft to restore protection. Devils Postpile was designated a National Monument in 1911 and further protected by Congress in 1984 as part of the 687 acres of the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
Operating Season: Mid-June through mid-September; visit the Devils Postpile NPS website for more visitor information
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Time: 3-4 hours
Fees: Shuttle bus $8/adult, $4/child over age 3. Purchase tickets at the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center. Learn more about the shuttles here.
Starting Point: Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center. You will park here and take a shuttle bus into the Monument area. From the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center in Yosemite, the drive is about one hour to reach Mammoth Mountain.
To save this hike and our other recommended hikes in Yosemite National Park, visit our curated list on AllTrails, where you can learn about other trails in the park and create your own lists to reference through their mobile app. Note that this hike is designated as 5.9 miles roundtrip in AllTrails, but the official National Park Service brochure measures the roundtrip distance from the ranger station to Rainbow Falls at 5 miles, which we have included here.