Trails.com is merging with AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Rainbow Falls via Devils Postpile Trail

EASY 471 reviews

Rainbow Falls via Devils Postpile Trail is a 4.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Mammoth Lakes, California that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and horses and is best used from May 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

hiking

horseback riding

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bridge out

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
1 day ago

simply beautiful the hike was easy. I enjoyed very much a must see atleast once.

hiking
10 days ago

The trails have some shading, but it gets warm when the sun is out. Beautiful waterfall to reward your hike.

hiking
11 days ago

Both Rainbow Falls and Lower Falls were worth the short walk, saw 3 deer close to the trail.. The Postpiles were interesting but smaller than anticipated. We took part of the John Muir/PCT which led us on a short loop ridge trail towards Minaret Falls which was beautiful. Also drove to the trailhead early at 8am for a parking spot and had the park to ourselves for the first half hour.

hiking
15 days ago

It is a wonderful trail, but I suggest to walking a little bit more. Lower Rainbow Falls is very interesting and it is just 2 kilometer longer. A lot of squirrels and chipmunks. The nature is perfect.

hiking
18 days ago

Great little afternoon hike. I got a rainbow in the falls! Lots of people but still nice. Devils postpile is a funky landmark for sure. Rangers at devils postpile are very friendly. The campgrounds right near there are great and cheap too!

hiking
19 days ago

Excellent hike past the Postpile and over to Rainbow Falls.

hiking
20 days ago

This is a Must Hike while visiting Mammoth... take some water and a lot of pics! It’s beautiful! Rainbow Falls is breathtaking! I arrived around 9am and parking lot had about 4 cars. When I left, around 1pm, parking was full. Also, I would consider this a moderate hike and worth it!

hiking
24 days ago

definitely worth it beautiful on the way up and a good workout

hiking
24 days ago

my husband and I completed this Hike on 9/27/19. we arrived approx 8am . there just a few cars in lot and enjoyed most of the hike by ourselves

hiking
27 days ago

Lovely trail that hits 2 must-sees: the Postpile and Rainbow Falls. I recommend doing the Postpile loop to the top to see the formations from above.

hiking
1 month ago

great trail. spectacular views. easy.

The only negatives were that there were lots of people (to be expected on a warm weekend in early September) & it was really dusty. But to be able to view such a stunning waterfall & jawdropping Rock formation in such a short distance is an unparalleled opportunity. We did a non traditional loop because the lot at the ranger station was full so we had to park at Reds Meadow.

hiking
1 month ago

Crowded but the waterfall was very nice

hiking
1 month ago

I thoroughly enjoyed this hike to Devil’s Postpile, and on to Rainbow falls (and Lower falls)! Very well marked trail with enough people to keep you company but not a bother! Great for dogs! I took a detour back and stopped at Red Meadows for a killer chocolate milkshake! 8-9 miles round trip. I would highly recommend!

hiking
no shade
1 month ago

Rainbow Falls at the end makes the hike worthwhile. Not much shade after Devil’s Postpile, but nice view of the mountains and lots of gooseberries this time of the year. A bit dusty and well travelled but overall enjoyable hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hiking trail. Lots of people, some shade, less towards rainbow falls.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail itself is easy but the elevation adds to the difficulty if you aren’t acclimated to it. Recommend that you get there early to avoid the crowd. The trail is dusty and sandy in parts but not unbearable. Not necessarily suited for strollers even though I saw a few headed up the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is an easy hike if you are conditioned to hike in high elevations and have been hiking and working out prior to this trip. The view was nice. There was a lot of going up and down, a lot of areas that were out in the sun. My least favorite area was the last 0.50 miles of the trail that you had to take from rainbow falls to get to the bus stop at Red Meadows. For unconditioned hikers our group took forever to get up that steep hike. Milkshake was the motivation that kept me going which you can get it if you dine in the cafe. It was nice that you could take the dogs on the trail but most of the dogs gave up and there were a lot of owners that ended up just carrying them. I think it was mostly the altitude with the not so shady areas that zapped our group out.

trail was wonderful. helped a nice old lady back to the bus stop, gave a meal bar for a poor dog and finally gave some energy gummies to 2 young for some pep in their steps. Mother Nature is a beautiful place.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike today. We made sure to arrive early to beat the crowds. We arrived to the trailhead at 6:50. We were surprised to enjoy the trail with just a few other groups. It was pretty cold for the first hour, glad we had some warm layers. Highlight was walking down to the waterfall. We went to the lower falls too, nice but not as impressive. By the time we returned there were bus loads of people. We definitely recommend starting early!

hiking
1 month ago

Trail was easy to follow and lots of pretty views! We continued past Rainbow Falls to Lower Falls. This added about a mile round trip and was a pleasant detour! If you go to Rainbow Falls, follow the stairs down to the base of the falls.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this trail. I'm a waterfall snob; I do a lot of hiking in Hawaii...and this waterfall was STUNNING! Devil's Postpile was cool, but this waterfall was worth fighting the crowds to get there. We had to take a shuttle to the trail head to Devil's. Start there and then make your way down to Rainbow Falls. Make sure you take the stairs down to it so you get a view from the bottom. You can then make your way up to one of the bus stops to take you back. There is one (stop 10?) that is right near a store that you can have a beer if you want.

Devils Postpile to Reds Meadow via Rainbow Falls. 8/27/2019. Warm 84. Clear and beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

nice trail, it is very open and sunny, make sure to see all three viewpoints of rainbow falls

hiking
1 month ago

Didn’t actually get to do the trail, but wanted to leave this info for others. During summer months, you cannot actually park at the trailhead until you arrive before 7 am or after 7 pm. You have to park at the main lodge and take the shuttle that runs every 20-30 minutes. If you have dogs, they are allowed on the shuttle, but they have to be muzzled. If you don’t have a muzzle, you have to purchase one for $5-$8. We chose not to do the trail due to these factors, but hopefully this helps others plan.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful. One of God’s finest creations.

hiking
2 months ago

This app doesnt work and cant call anyone to complain. Once you pay the $29.00 you try to open a map and they want you to pay again. WTF?

beautiful, beautiful, solitude, wildflowers, amazing!

hiking
2 months ago

Little difficulty, except that a good part of the course is in full sun. On the way back, you can reach stops 9 and 10 of the shuttle, to return to the parking at the ski resort.

Load More

Featured Trails