What a myriad of shapes Nature presents at Devils Postpile National Monument!
The trail from Devils Postpile to Rainbow Falls is fairly easy, very dusty, and our 9 year-old enjoyed it a lot more than hiking through the woods to Emerald Lake. There are interesting things to look at along the entire length of the 4-mile hike, lots of wildlife, and no mosquitos!
To get to the Devils Postpile during the busy summer months, you have to take a shuttle bus from the Mammoth Mountain main lodge. It cost us $7 per adult and $4 per child. More information can be found here and here. The trail to Devils Postpile is less than 1/2 mile from the parking lot and ranger station. If you have children with you, be sure and go to the ranger station first and get your Junior Ranger workbook. By completing the tasks in the workbook, they will earn a Devils Postpile patch. Be aware that this patch is available for sure at the Devils Postpile ranger station, and might be at the main Welcome Center in Mammoth Lakes, CA. Since we were planning on taking the shuttle to the Devils Postpile stop, then walking straight through from Devils Postpile to Rainbow Falls, and catching the return shuttle from the Rainbow Falls trailhead stop back to Mammoth, on our return journey we got off the bus at stop 6 - Devils Postpile, and visited the ranger station for a second time that day to get our Devils Postpile patch. Then we boarded the next bus to proceed to Mammoth.
After walking to the top of Devils Postpile, and back around it to take a few more pictures, we proceeded to hike to Rainbow Falls. This hike was dry and dusty, meandering through pine forests by the middle fork of the San Joaquin River and through the fire-scorched landscape from the 1992 fires that burned over 80% of the Devils Postpile monument lands. There were lots of unique landscapes and plenty of wildflowers to keep this section of the hike interesting on a blazingly sunny day.