HOURS OF OPERATION
Monument Hours: Devils Postpile National Monument and the Reds Meadow Valley are open 24 hours/day 7 days/week during the operating season. If planning a trip in June, September, or October, please check the website for up to date weather and closure information. The monument will close temporarily if winter weather arrives early.
Ranger Station Hours: The ranger station is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily during the operating season.
Campground: The Devils Postpile campground was closed during the 2019 season.
Trails and Day Use Areas: All trails in the monument are open.
Overnight Parking: During the shuttle bus operating season, visitors who are exceptions to the shuttle bus and are backpacking may use the overnight hiker parking just outside the monument boundary. There is a 1/4 mile trail from there to the trailhead. Shuttle bus users should leave their vehicle at the shuttle bus parking area at Mammoth Mountain. There is no charge to park your vehicle overnight. Please do not leave any food or scented items in your vehicle when leaving it overnight. Bear proof food lockers are available at Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge. Before or after the shuttle bus operation, backpackers may drive into the Reds Meadow Valley and park overnight in designated areas. There is no overnight parking in the Reds Meadow Valley or Devils Postpile after October 15. Backpackers need to arrange for a shuttle or taxi or be prepared to hike out. The road will not be plowed after October 15.
Backpackers: If your trip starts while the shuttle bus is operational and ends after the shuttle bus season, please notify the staff at the Minaret Vista entrance station. You will be able to drive into the valley. You must provide your wilderness permit as proof of your trip plan and must pay the standard amenity fee. Wilderness permits are not available at the Devils Postpile Ranger Station and must be obtained from the Inyo National Forest.
REDS MEADOW SHUTTLE BUS
Visitors driving into the Reds Meadow Valley before or after the operating hours of 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. must pay the standard amenity fee of $10/vehicle or show an interagency pass at the Minaret Vista Entrance Station.
SEASONS AT DEVILS POSTPILE
Spring is not generally a long season in the Sierra. At Devils Postpile, it is the time when meadows flood, the rivers swell, and everyone waits for roads to be cleared of snow. Depending on the year, winter can linger into early summer, 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 late spring/early summer should check conditions often as road closures due to weather are not uncommon and opening dates are often delayed.
The mandatory Devils Postpile/Reds Meadow shuttle bus typically begins operations in late June (weather permitting) and runs through early September, which is considered the end of the summer season. If the monument opens in mid-June, visitors can expect a relatively quiet experience with uncrowded trails, an occastional patch of snow, and amazing water flows at both Rainbow Falls and Minaret Falls. In July, the waterfalls are still full, but so are park trails, overlooks, and shuttle buses. In August, crowds peak, campgrounds are typically full during the weekends, and flow in the waterfalls decreases significantly. Although Rainbow Falls flows year round, it is most impressive in June and July. August, however, is typically the warmest month and crowds usually subside around the end of the month just before the last rush during Labor Day weekend.
Fall is a beautiful time to be in the monument, but the weather can be a bit unpredictable and once the mandatory shuttle bus stops running, parking lots fill quickly. A parking shuttle operates between Reds Meadow Resort and Devils Postpile on weekends to relieve parking congestion. Generally, days are warm and nights are cold through early October. Blue skies prevail, but winter storms are not far away. Visitors in September and October will enjoy fall color that typically peaks in early October. Be prepared for rapidly changing weather, particularly if visiting in October. The ranger station is usually open through Columbus Day weekend, weather permitting. The monument typically closes the last Sunday in October, however, winter storms often force an earlier closure date. Temporary closures due to weather are not uncommon in the fall. If you visit on the right day, however, there is nothing better than a cool fall breeze rustling the aspen and cottonwood trees along the San Joaquin River.
This may seem an odd time of year to visit Devils Postpile since the road is closed and the only access is by skis or snowshoes but the Reds Meadow Valley is a beautiful and wild place in this season. Trips into the Reds Meadow Valley are not for novice backcountry travelers. No facilities existare open in the winter and the only way out of the valley is to climb the 1600+ feet back to the Minaret Vista. For the experienced backcountry traveler, however, many great adventures await. Make sure you have an in depth knowledge of winter travel and basic avalanche safety equipment before journeying into the valley. Check with the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for current avalanche conditions, plan ahead, and solo travel is not recommended.
Last updated: December 4, 2019