Rainbow Falls via Devils Postpile Trail

EASY 202 reviews

Rainbow Falls via Devils Postpile Trail is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mammoth Lakes, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
485 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bridge out

no shade

historic site

Rainbow Falls is the highest waterfall in the eastern Sierras and is named after the rainbows that appear in the mist from the water flow on sunny afternoons. The trail is accessed from the Rainbow Falls Trailhead at the end of Reds Meadow Road in Devils Postpile National Monument and ends at a viewing area across from the 101 foot waterfall. This National Monument preserves and protects the Devils Postpile columnar basalt formation, Rainbow Falls and the pristine mountain scenery. There is a parking area next to the Devils Postpile Shuttle Stop. Although the falls are on National Park Service land, most of the trail wanders through Inyo National Forest.

hiking
2 months ago

Great easy hike for the family and kids. Great swim by the waterfall depending the on water level

4 months ago

A Picture is worth a thousand words..but real life is priceless. Seeing pics of DPP does nothing for being there in real life. :)
Lots of trails to branch off and choose your route..but it all eventually heads back to the parking lot. Some hills...but most pretty easy to navigate. There are a few spots with steep steps.
Camp style bathrooms in parking lot. Road curvy & fairly narrow..suggest leaving the trailer at home.
Lots of great photo opps in road & hiking trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful easy hike. The Postpile is fascinating and the hike to the falls is easy. Signage is excellent and the trail is dog friendly.

hiking
4 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous. I have so much fun on this trail. I never miss it when I visit Mammoth. Make sure you smell the trees (trust me)! I remember when I was a kid, I got to hike down to Rainbow Falls, right across the rocks, right up to the falls. But last year when I went, it was blocked off. Not sure if they’ll open that path again. I hope so. Anyway, on the way back, instead of going back to the Postpile, I went to Red Meadows and took the shuttle back from there for different views. There’s also a market.

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

Great trail..

hiking
4 months ago

Overall the hike was decent. The scenery along the trail was pretty boring. Lots of burnt and cut down trees from the fire 25 years ago... the falls were pretty but I wouldn’t say the hike is worth it. There are many other hikes in the area that I would recommend over this one. For people that hike often, this hike is underwhelming... but if you don’t get to hike often, this hike may be a good one as it is not strenuous at all. (Except one or two short uphill climbs).

5 months ago

A "should do"... to see it. But a bit crowded for the avid hiker.

5 months ago

Beautiful!

5 months ago

Loved the hike. It was hot outside but my favorite waterfall in the history of my California hiking trips. Even on a cloudy day when the sun peeks out the rainbow appears. If your tired from the hike and don't want the 2.5 miles back, keep right and follow the sign that says shuttle 9&10 0.7mls BUT it's uphill to some parts of it. Worth it all

hiking
6 months ago

There were many people on the trail, but it was fine. It is a little bit steep and seemed a little bit far for my 75 year old mom . She's kind of fit. Overall it was gorgeous and very enjoyable for an afternoon adventure!

6 months ago

A little strenuous for me but lots of shade and great views!

6 months ago

Short hike worth the view! Bring lunch or a snack and watch the waterfall while you eat on the big rock at the destination.

hiking
6 months ago

Started at Ranger's Station and hiked to Minaret Falls then back to Devil's Postpile which was spectacular! Took the trail to Rainbow Falls but veered off to enjoy the bridge over San Joaquin River. Then back to Rainbow Falls which was gorgeous! The trek up to Red Meadows was tiring and kind of steep. But at least there's a small general store (cold drinks and ice cream too), tiny restaurant and clean bathrooms waiting for you before taking the shuttle back. Loved this hike!

hiking
6 months ago

For the short hike the destination on this trail is a must.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked this trail 2 days ago. Hiked it the opposite way. Started at Falls trail head and ended up at the Ranger Station near the Devils Postpile trail head. I would recommend this route. It was moderate downhill at first and then a gradual climb out. I preferred this to the gradual downhill and then a moderate climb out for 1 mile. The road was fully open and shuttles were running. No snow issues on trail or road.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike, but super busy trail. If you want a more isolated hiking experience from Devils post pile to the falls, wait 15 minutes after the shuttle drops off the busload of people at the Devils PP trail head to let the crowd go ahead, and start on the trail before the next shuttle bus drops off.

hiking
7 months ago

Hotter than I expected but beautiful view! And we walked down to the lower falls and got in the water. Super fun little hike.

7 months ago

Loved it. Went from Devils to Rainbow to Red Mountain but if you come back to bus stop 10 it's all up hill.

hiking
7 months ago

Getting to this hike (and many others in the area) is a struggle right now, because the road to Devil's Postpile is closed due to snow damage. Bikes are allowed on the road. The bike ride down to Devil's Postpile is awesome, because it is all downhill (about 6-7 miles). As you might expect, the ride back up is not fun. Because the road is closed, we had both Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls to ourselves. Both are impressive. The trail is fairly easy, but there isn't much shade between Devil's Postpile and the falls, so bring plenty of sunscreen and water. We also hiked down to Lower Rainbow Falls, which was farther from the upper falls than expected, but worthwhile.

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