Mammoth Lakes, California: Rainbow Falls & Devils Postpile

Mammoth Lakes, California: Rainbow Falls & Devils Postpile

Honeymoon Road Trip

Our honeymoon in May 2015 was a road trip through California. One of our favourite days as newlyweds was spent at the Devils Postpile National Monument and Rainbow Falls. As we were spending three nights in Mammoth Lakes, it was only about a 20 to 30-minute drive from our hotel in the village to the parking area for the Devils Postpile. Somewhat surprisingly for the US, there is no entrance fee! In peak season however, there is a paid shuttle bus service from the village etc to alleviate traffic congestion.

Devils Postpile – It’s no Giant’s Causeway

From the car park it was only a short walk to reach the Devils Postpile along a well marked trail. The Devils Postpile is a rock formation of unusual basalt columns and it doesn’t cover a large area. Coming from Northern Ireland, we couldn’t get too excited over it as we have the much more impressive Giant’s Causeway, which covers a much larger area on our beautiful north coast.

Spectacular Picnic at Rainbow Falls

Our main attraction was always the Rainbow Falls waterfall, which is about 1.5 miles further along the trail. The scenic walk takes about 40 minutes to allow for a few photo stops along the San Joaquin River. Part of the area was devastated by a forest fire a number of years ago, which has left behind  a surreal landscape of charred, almost sculptural like trees. The roar of the waterfall grows louder as you approach. Your first sight of this beauty is from a vantage point looking down upon it and the rainbow, which gave it its name. There is no guarantee that you will see the rainbow as it’s dependent upon weather conditions but we were fortunate to have been there on a warm day with clear blue skies.

A set of steps takes you down to another vantage point at the river’s edge, close to the base of the 101 foot waterfall. We had brought a picnic with us, from our beloved Schat’s bakery in the village, so found a quiet spot close to the waterfall to eat and take further photos. Okay, so we did get slightly wet from the spray coming off the waterfall but as picnic spots go it was pretty epic!

Down by the River

Many photos later we headed back along the trail. The lure of the river was too much and we found a small clearing at the water’s edge about a half mile from the waterfall and spent a couple of hours relaxing and testing out the water, which was freezing! If hiking awesome scenery are your thing then we can recommend spending a few days in this part of California. Look out for our upcoming article on our day exploring the lakes of Mammoth Lakes and our search for the elusive Crystal Lake!

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ARTICLE Rainbow Falls




  1. July 6, 2016 / 7:41 am

    As a waterfalls lover, I’m quite happy to have discovered Rainbow Falls. To my ignorance, I didn’t know it existed :(.
    Thanks for sharing, and great photography, as always :).

    • baybreezin
      July 6, 2016 / 8:05 am

      Thanks Cristina! It doesn’t get much better than a waterfall and a rainbow in the middle of beautiful nature. It really is a hidden gem 😉

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