Rainbow Falls via Devils Postpile Trail

EASY 207 reviews

Rainbow Falls via Devils Postpile Trail is a 4.8 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
4.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
528 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
6 months ago

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

7 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
8 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
8 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
8 months ago

8 months ago

Great trail..

hiking
8 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).

9 months ago

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

9 months ago

Beautiful!

9 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
9 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!

10 months ago

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

10 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
10 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
10 months ago

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

hiking
10 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
10 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
10 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.

10 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
11 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.

hiking
11 months ago

Very nice hike!! I highly recommend it, it is beyond beautiful and for the most part is shaded except for when you cross through the part of the woods that burned down a while back. Seen lots of deer. If you like getting wet go below the bridge that horses use to cross (I stop there every time) I've done this hike once a year for about 5 or 6 years now-I am currently 17 so yes it is kid friendly. We've never taken our dogs. If you are starting from devils post-pile and you want to get wet before the long journey go through the meadow it's very pretty and cold water is refreshing (I usually stop there on the way back). Everyone should do this hike

11 months ago

Just wanted to throw a tip up here that wasn't obvious from reading recent reviews. As of mid-May 2017, you can't access the postpile from Mammoth Lakes at all. The 203 is completely covered in snow starting at the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge and going east towards the postpile. (The US Forest Service site does mention a road closure, but it's always a pain to interpret those notices unless you're familiar with the area.) I don't know if there is an entrance to the monument from the west, but if you're planning on coming in from the east, definitely give the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center/Ranger Station a call at 760-924-5500 to check about access.

hiking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

Easy trail!

hiking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

Great views of the waterfall!

hiking
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Did this hike with my wife as our warm up for the backpack trip that followed a few days later. Nice trail and quite busy with people of all ages. The falls are great in early summer. Camped out one night at Minaret Falls campground. Doing so allows you to be able to drive down the road otherwise you have to take the shuttle. The trail takes you past the Devils Post pile first, then continues down to the Falls. We hiked on the trail that brings you to the top of the post pile when we came back from the falls. Neat to see the Basalt columns from on top. Nice easy walk and can be hot during the middle of the day

hiking
Thursday, March 02, 2017

Lovely, easy hike. Completed it with a friend in October 2016, not too hot or too cold. I like harder hikes, but this is great for the family, or a half day trip

hiking
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Magnificent.

hiking
Monday, January 02, 2017

This hike is great! I really like how you park, buy a shuttle ticket at the ski resort and the bus takes you on a huge loop around the park. There are many short hikes you can elect to do, just hop off at the stop( they give you a map at the ticket window). When your hike is complete, just wait for the bus to haul you out or to the next trailhead.
Devils post pile is one of the hikes and it's a great one! Once you reach the post pile, continue down the trail to Rainbow Falls. When your done, head up the hill to the bus stop. There is a store and restrooms.
It's a cool hike that's on a well used trail.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

One of my favorite hikes! Rainbow falls is gorgeous and devils post pile is mesmerizing.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Beautiful falls! The actual hike to the falls is relatively flat and family friendly. Be careful if you have little ones wading into the water near the falls; the rocks can be very sharp!

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