During the summer to visit Devils Post Pile National Monument you need to take the mandatory shuttle. When we visited, the shuttle had finished for the season, although the ranger commented that there were so many visitors she thought the shuttle should run for longer in future years.
The views as we drove into the monument were gorgeous, although as a driver you simply wouldn’t have much chance to appreciate them. The very steep, narrow, winding road is covered in frost heaves that catch you unawares.
Without the summer shuttle the road would be a permanent traffic jam. Luckily for us we only met a couple of vehicles as we drove in and out, better still we even managed to find a space or the truck in the very small parking area.
Heading into the monument
Heading out, would you believe there are signs warning you not to overtake? Who on earth would try and overtake on a road like this?
Once the snows arrive the road is closed until the thaw. The only way into and out of the valley is to ski or snowshoe, I’m not even sure snowmobiles are allowed.
Devils Post Pile
In 1910 the Forest Service received an application from mining interests who wanted to blow up the formation and dam the river. Walter L Huber sparked a campaign that resulted in Devils Post Pile being designated a National Monument in 1911.
It’s only about a ¼ mile along a dirt path to the monument, which is made of fractured basalt that looks just like seven sided posts, if you walk to the top (we didn’t) I believe they resemble floor tiles.
On the way back we crossed over the San Joaquin river bridge where we could see a beautiful meadow.
A sign pointed the way to Minaret Falls, but a ranger told us it was a couple of miles away. As we only had one bottle of water between us we said we’d leave it for another day. I’m almost certain I heard him sigh with relief as he passed us that at least here were two people he wasn’t going to have to go out later and rescue!
When we reached the top, we pulled into the Minaret Scenic Viewpoint and enjoyed the fabulous view across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Theoretically you could walk to Yosemite from Devils Postpile, but there are no trails and I don’t think anyone ever has.
Have fun, we are!