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Rainbow Falls

Devil's Postpile National Monument, California

Located in Devil’s Postpile National Monument, the 101 foot rainbow shrouded waterfall of the San Joaquin River known appropriately as Rainbow Falls, is just a short 1.5 mile hike from Shuttle Bus Stop 9—the Rainbow Falls Trailhead. The shuttle bus, which runs approximately every 20 or 30 minutes from Mammoth Mountain, is the best and sometimes the only way to reach the trailhead. The trail is mostly downhill and affords fantastic views as it crosses through the Ansel Adams Wilderness. There are three viewpoints along the trail, with the first two being from above the falls, and the third from the base. This last viewpoint is reached by climbing down several steps, and despite having to climb back up the steps the effort needed for this great view is totally worthwhile. A word of advice, if you want to take advantage of the rainbow effect plan your hike for late in the afternoon. After spending some time at the waterfall it is time to head back on your return trip, and you have some choices on how you return to the shuttle bus—you can head back to the Rainbow Falls Trailhead for a 3 mile roundtrip hike, or you can take the trail that leads you past another geologic marvel, the one known as Devil’s Postpile. If you choose the latter, you will be to the shuttle bus stop at the Ranger Station in another 2.5miles, for a 4.0 mile roundtrip hike—we chose to hike past the postpile with its unusual columnar basalt formations. The columns can have anywhere from four to seven sides and are stacked together forming a honeycomb pattern that is truly amazing to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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