The Antiquities Act of 1906 established the ability of presidents to designate national monuments without an Act of Congress. Devils Postpile was established under the Antiquities Act in 1911 by President Taft. The monument boundary was drawn to enclose 798 acres including Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls. The surrounding area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, most of which is designated wilderness under the Wilderness Act of 1964.
The monument includes places of scenic interest, like Rainbow Falls, and recreational interest, such as sections of the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, and the Mammoth Pass Trail. Located in or near the monument are historic places such as the Reds Meadow Guard Station and Bath House, the Devils Postpile Ranger Station, the cabin ruins at the base of the Postpile, and the evidence that remains of the Minaret Mine.
Some of these historical sites may qualify for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register supports public and private efforts to protect historic and archeological resources. Natural features such as the Postpile formation, Reds Meadows, Soda Springs Meadow, and the Middle Fork San Joaquin River may be considered for inclusion on the National Register as cultural landscapes because of their significance to American Indians, their role in the development of geologic interpretations of the Sierra Nevada, or their role in the history of conservation, tourism, and recreation in the Mammoth Lakes region and the Sierra Nevada as a whole.