Somehow, I’ve been to Mammoth Mountain many a time without ever knowing about the famed “geologic wonder” of the nearby Devils Postpile National Monument. Instead, I found out about this gem through social media photography. A couple adventurous people I follow (thank you, strangers) have been here, and each time I saw a picture my curiosity grew. The unique formation of the 60 foot tall basalt columns made me instantly curious, and left me wanting to visit.
So finally during August I decided to check this one off the bucket list. I was able to visit since it was a stop on my way home from Tahoe. It was a nice way to break up a seven hour drive; getting to stretch my legs in a new area. The thing is though, this was one of my first solo adventures. In a park I’ve never visited, with no cell-service, and only two people who knew where I was (but they were nowhere near me). So I have to admit I was a little nervous, but my excitement definitely outweighed it.
This structure was formed from a slow cooling lava flow from about 80,000 years ago. The hexagonal columns were formed by the contraction and cracking that occurred during the very slow cooling process and because of the uniform mineral composition.
What I loved about this trip:
That I did this adventure all on my own (the pictures of me were taken on a tripod). I know that traveling solo may not be a big deal to everyone, but I felt so independent and empowered to be doing something just for myself that I’d been dreaming of for a while.
Also the unique formation of the mountain! It was so cool! I took my time enjoying the view and studying the crazy structure. Also when I went to the top, I couldn’t take my eyes off the ground it was that beautiful.
So anyhow here’s how to get there:
- Park near the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center (quite the name) and follow signs for Red’s Meadow Passes
- Buy your 7$ ticket for the shuttle (usually everyone has to ride the shuttle in, though there are exceptions)
- Wait in line for the shuttle
- Ride the shuttle in, taking in the views, and waiting for the stop that mentions the Devil’s Postpile trailhead
- Walk an easy 0.4 miles to the base of the postpile and take it all in! You can also walk to the top of the postpile, which is about an additional 10 minute trek
SO next time:
When I come back here, and I’m not in the middle of a seven hour drive, I want to hike to the beautiful Rainbow Falls and also visit Red’s Meadow. Even though this place is one of the lesser visited parks in the area, there’s plenty to see here.
Have you been to the Devils Postpile before? If so what did you think? What other cool sites did you find here?