Explore the most popular waterfall trails near Mammoth Lakes with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
8 days ago

A very easy hike with scenic mountain views on sandy underground. Sadly the lake's water level was pretty low.

Took the shuttle in (stop 6) and hiked down the trail to the falls. Shuttle is $8 per person round trip. The trail can be pretty heavily trafficked at times, especially in the summer , especially around the shuttle stops. Between stops, the traffic on the trail decreases significantly, which leads to a very pleasant walk.

Reaching the Postpile Monument is quite interesting with a trail going to the top and another at the bottom. The view at the top is nice but not worth it if you're pressed for time. The trail at the bottom offers more interesting photo opportunities.

Hiking to rainbow falls is fairly easy. The trail is well maintained overall and not heavily trafficked. The crowds do increase quite a bit when you reach close to the falls as the views impress. The viewpoints in a couple spots are quite good.

Hiking back up to the bus stop (stop 10) is a bit hard. It may be the elevation that adds to it but it's harder than any other part of the trail.

hiking
24 days ago

Lovely hike! We managed our way from LA to the trailhead in one day and got down before sunrise. We started at 4:30PM (maybe a little later) and we were back down by 6:30, at the brewery by 7. There is a lot of variety on the trail, starting with some meadow views, then some time through the woods and then on top of a ridge line which brings you to the lake. We were the only ones on the trail and at the lake which gave us a feeling of peacefulness and seclusion. The lake is clear and clean and if you go just a bit past the lake you'll find yourself on a ledge overlooking the stunning mountains surrounding the area. Some other reviewers mention a huge incline, but I would call it a pretty average incline for an uphill hike. Certainly was not unmanageable, and we enjoyed getting our blood pumpin'.

hiking
1 month ago

Had to take the shuttle in, I think 8 dollars round trip, but I think you can drive in before 830am but the road is narrow and buses are hard to get around. 10 dollars per car at the entrance pass the adventure center. Dogs need to be muzzled. Try not too take your dog if she/he is aggressive. Bus drivers don't like to take too many dog per trip so you may be asked to take the next bus. The drive is 30 miles. I have a lab so she barely fit underneath or in front of me. If you have a dog, make sure to get a seat. They have standing room but it's hard with a big dog.

Stop 6: Devil Postpile-0.5 miles; Rainbow Falls- extra 1.5-2miles (trail to lower falls is closed 2018) two viewpoints top of falls and lower falls viewpoints. First viewpoint to lower viewpoint is steep so climbing up is a pain. Trail itself is ok. Kinda up and down in elevation but not too steep. Well marked trail. Can deviate to the river to play in the water with dogs. You can also hike to the Mina--- Falls.

Stop 10: The other way to get in or get out: around 1 mile from rainbow falls. This trail is mildly challenging from falls to the stop so it's easier to walk down from this stop but you just see the falls. You are mostly gaining elevation coming back up. Pretty with wildflowers and Forest trees. Passes the PCT trail. There is a resupply general store here and a little restaurant that is heavily overpriced ($10+ hamburgers and $10 milkshakes)

The adventure center has tickets for the gondola and kid challenge structure/ rock wall. You can get a combo of gondola and shuttle 37 dollars each. Morning is best for gondola. No lines. But the food up there does not open till lunch. Summer time is for mountain/dirt bike and a beautiful view at the top. Construction at the top. The museum is nice for kids.

Cons: due to recent fires air quality and visibility was sub par.

Very busy trail at the end of July. Yosemite Valley was closed due to fires. Which explained the heavier crowds in Mammoth Lakes. As on all trails, take plenty of water for everyone in your group. Try the west side of the river. Much fewer people.

We started at the Rainbow Falls trailhead off of the Red Meadows Shuttle stop #9 which is a shorter hike than this one (1.3 miles one way so 2.6 round trip) You can change it up on the way back and take the Reds Meadow Resort path back to Shuttle stop #10 which is recommended to get out because it is the last shuttle stop and usually fills up the shuttles leaving the area. The trail to the base of the Falls is closed now for 2018 for rerouting and restructuring and will reopen in 2019. Air quality was fine despite the fires but it was dry, hot and windy so bring enough water. The waterfall was beautiful and well worth the hike according to my seven year old!

The waterfall is worth every step it took to get there!!

Amazing hike, not much people and gorgeous scenery. One of the bests I made!!

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is a short, semi-easy day activity. I went on this hike with some of my family members and my dog. For the first mile or so, there is a huge incline that can be pretty tough if you are not used to the altitude. But once you get to the top the views are spectacular. The only problem that i came across was when we got near the lake there were a ton of mosquitos so we ran out of there before we got eaten.

I made the hike to Rainbow Falls with my husband, two year old and five year old. We got dropped off at stop 6 for Devil’s Postpile.It took us a little longer than expected to complete the first leg of the trip (about 2.5 hours) so we decided to take the shortcut back to Red Meadows to make one of the last shuttles back. Mostly flat, sandy paths, with a little uphill/downhill incline on the way there. However the “shortcut” to Red Meadows is steep so be prepared! Devil’s Postpile and Rainbow Falls were pretty cool to see but I am not sure I would make this hike again, a little underwhelmed. We heard bears on the way back which was a little nerve wracking but no actual sightings. Still giving this trail five stars since it was so beautiful and would recommend this overall.

Great for a day hike! Loved seeing the rainbow falls and then hiking down to the lower falls to get in the water. Very refreshing with great views the entire time. Brought our pup too. Should note that your dog has to be muzzled for the shuttle ride to the trailhead!

My favorite hike in Mammoth! It’s relatively short, and my daughters and dog have done it each year. The most amazing mountain panoramic views through beautiful wildflower hill meadows! Didn’t see them, but came home with bad mosquito bites from this lake!

Great trail, great views of the Forrest fire that occurred in 1992. Scenery is unique. The only steep part is at devils post pile but there are a couple trails to get to rainbow falls.

A lot of young families hiking in from the lodge trail head.

A lot of work is being done at the falls to kind of “commercialize” it.

And yes, the falls create a rainbow anywhere you view it.

hiking
2 months ago

Tough hike for me as a beginner, but worth it. Bring water shoes for lower falls area. The rocks are sharp if you want to take a break and swim.

We started at stop 6 and hiked to Rainbow Falls. Not much shade because there was a fire in the region years ago and trees are growing back. The walk was worth seeing the falls at the end and there really is a rainbow!

walking
2 months ago

Very nice leisurely walk with some great mountain views and a large lake that your dog can run around! Easy walk, if you're looking for any sort of challenge then this is not for you, if not then I recommend it!

on Heart Lake Trail

hiking
2 months ago

I don’t know why this is classified as easy - easy is something Grandma could do and this is most definitely NOT. It’s pretty steep - it’s all uphill until you get to the lake. The lake is pretty but there are better hikes in the area. But the views along the trail are amazing, the lake, IMO, is secondary

Trailhead was kind of confusing to find.You have to drive through a campground. There is a huge parking lot and you probably won’t have a hard time finding a place to park (hiked this over Fourth of July week and plenty of spaces). This is in the same parking lot as trailheads for the mine, duck and emerald lake. Go into the parking lot and go all the way around, almost to the exit - that’s where the heart lake trailhead is. Parking lot is a one way.

This is a really fun afternoon. we started at stop 6 for devil's postpile. Did the postpile then go up top of it and there's a trail entrance for rainbow falls. as someone else noted it is a sandy walk and can take it's toll. the falls are cool. go to lower falls the trail isn't bad and the river and small falls are great. Then back to stop 10. it ends up in the 5ish mile range. Tiring due to elevation and sandy trail, but totally worth it. Bring water and bug spray and a hat.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing views and very beautiful hike. However, I would call it moderate, not easy. To me, easy is okay for older folks and kids. Easy to me is okay with regular shoes not hiking boots. Kids had a hard time and a few older folks in our group only made it half way. The switchbacks do not feel like easy. We took about 3 hours including breaks, photos.
Another note, the cold water creek campsite has multiple trail heads. We went to 2 others before finding the heart lake trailhead, but once we found it it was easy to tell and navigate.
All in all, I highly recommend this hike. Many people who passed us easily went up and down this trail, but keep in mind your group’s fitness level!

We took the shuttle to stop 6, hiked to the bottom of the postpile (so unique!), then took the short loop to the top of the postpile (definitely a worthwhile perspective). We continued the trail to the aptly-named rainbow falls, and went an additional ~1/2 mi to the lower falls, where we found a lot of swimmers. On the way back, we hiked to shuttle stop 9, which shaved off a short distance. Fun and unique hike.

Summer months are hot up here so make sure you bring lots of water. It’s easy to get distracted and venture off trail since the infamous PCT and JMT run through here.

A simple walk through some beautiful forest!! Devil's Postpile was too cool with a nice little shaded area to eat lunch before the rest of the hike to Rainbow Falls. The trail is very sandy and therefore can tire you out a bit so just pace yourself because, although not difficult, we met with a few older folks on the trail that didn't find it to be so easy -- if that's the case for you there are two spots to cut the hike short and head up to Reds Meadow Resort, and you'll still see some amazing sights! Myself, my wife, my 12 year old daughter and 6 year old son did great but we were certainly tired at the end! Rainbow Falls is breathtaking, a great reward at the end of the hike! Just save your strength since you have to then hike back up and out 1.3 miles to the resort and/or shuttle.

Beautiful in June! Shuttle drops you off at .4mi from Devil’s Postpile. After that, it’s another 2 mi to Rainbow Falls. While its kid-friendly, the trail isn’t stroller-friendly. A jogging stroller is fine if you are comfortable exercising with one. There are many sunny spots, so make sure you’ve got a hat.

Nice easy trail

5/29/18 0700hrs - hiking boots highly recommended. Still considerable snowpack on the southwest slope, especially around the bridges. Much nicer to walk on the beach than sticking to the trail.

nice and easy trail with beautiful views!

backpacking
7 months ago

Finished in 2014 what I started in 2012. A "must do" for any backpackers' bucket list

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

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.

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