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Devil’s Postpile National Monument & Red Meadow set to Open May 16, 2015

Devils Postpile National Monument – Another Early season gift for exploring in the Sierra. Devils Postpile and Red Meadow road will be opening ahead of schedule on May 16th barring any late spring storms. Typically not open til mid June, Devils Postpile is one of the Sierra Mountains most unique geological wonders.

Devils Postpile - NPS photo

Devils Postpile – Photo by NPS

Devils Postpile National Monument is located in the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada. As such, a wide variety of recreational activities is available in the region. Within the Monument’s nearly 800 acres, visitors can explore the area’s unique geology, take a day-hike along the John Muir or Pacific Crest trails, or simply enjoy a meal in our day-use area alongside the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin river. From camping, backpacking, and day hikes to fishing, photography, and horseback riding, there’s something to do for everyone!

Spring is not generally a long season in the Sierra. At Devils Postpile, it is the time that the meadows flood, the rivers swell, and everyone waits for roads to clear. Depending on the

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls – NPS Photo

year, winter can hold on into June, dropping snow on nearby Mammoth Mountain until Fourth of July. But other years, the shooting stars start to bloom in early June, just as the water recedes from the meadows. Visitors in early June should check conditions often as road closures due to weather are not uncommon and typically opening dates are uncertain.

The Shuttle Bus may not be operating yet at Red Meadow so here are some driving tips provided by the park:
OUTSIDE OF THE SHUTTLE BUS OPERATING SEASON
When the Devils Postpile/Reds Meadow Shuttle Bus is not running, you may drive your vehicle into the valley. Keep in mind that the road is narrow, steep, and descends almost 1,500 vertical feet from the Minaret Vista Station, where visitors pay a standard amenity fee of $10. Parking lots usually fill up by 11:00 a.m. during nice weather or on busy weekends. Planning your trips to arrive before 10:30 a.m. or after 2:00 p.m. will make it easier to find parking. The Devils Postpile Road currently has a vehicle length limit of 37 feet, for the short stretch of road going to the ranger station and campground.

Places to Go in the Park

  1. THE SAN JOAQUIN RIVER
  2. DEVILS POSTPILE
  3. RAINBOW FALLS
  4. THE HIGH SIERRA

The Postpile also serves as a starting point for many backcountry trips. Surrounded by both the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wildernesses, the monument provides a portal to some of the most pristine backcountry destinations in the region.

Permits are required for all overnight trips in wilderness areas. While Devils Postpile National Monument can issue permits through a special arrangement with the Inyo National Forest for trips originating in the Reds Meadow Valley, it is best for visitors planning on a backpack trip in the area to contact the Inyo’s Wilderness Permit office directly and to procure permits at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center or any other Inyo National Forest permit center whenever possible. The most current regulations and trail quotas can be found by visiting the Inyo National Forest’s website or by phoning the Inyo’s Wilderness Permit Office at (760) 873-2485.

 

About The Author

Sierra REC magazine - Charlie Pankey ~ Publisher

Local Explorer and adventure seeker in the Lake Tahoe Basin and the Sierra Mountain Region. Loves Hiking and Exploring the National forest, National Parks and Wilderness Regions of the Sierra Nevada.

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