Snow Delays Opening of Devils Postpile for its 100th Season

Devils Postpile is considered one of the best examples of columnar basalt in the world.

If there's been a theme in the Sierra Mountains this year, it's been delays. Thanks to a healthy does of winter precipitation, popular areas for summertime activities are getting a late start. Take the cables that assist hikers up Half Dome in Yosemite: usually open by Memorial Day weekend, they are scheduled to up this afternoon.

The same goes for Devils Postpile National Monument. Typically the 800-acre unit of the National Park Service is open mid-June through mid-October, but this year its opening was delayed to June 24th. Then on Tuesday another push back to June 29th.

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The snow-covered Minaret Vista Station on Memorial Day Weekend | Photo: NPS"They're shoveling like crazy," said the park's superintendent, Deanna Dulen, explaining that it took crews two and a half weeks to plow one mile of Highway 203 to the Minaret Vista entrance station. She added that the snow is finally starting to melt, meaning trails in the Reds Meadow Valley and along the Middle Fork San Joaquin River should be more accessible as July heats up.

That's good news for the monument's centennial. Devils Postpile opened on July 6th, 1911 after a series of proposals that would destroy its main attraction, the columnar basalt that is considered one of the best examples of it in the world. Another feature is Rainbow Falls.

On July 6th of this year, officials will celebrate with a low-key community birthday celebration at the Mammoth Lakes Farmers Market. But as the weekend gets closer, the festivities grow, with over 20 to choose from.

For those not able to visit during the centennial week, there are daily activities throughout the season. The monument only has five miles of trails, but can be used as a portal to access a plethora of other day and extended hikes, such a walk on the famous John Muir Trail.

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The photo used on this post is by Flickr user renedrivers. It was used under a Creative Commons License.

About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCETLink's Editor-in-Chief of Blogs, where he oversees website editorial and advises on projects. When he does write, he mostly covers local government, environment, and the outdoors.
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When the Postpile opens, also make the hike to nearby Rainbow Falls. Should really be gushing this year with all the snowmelt.

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Thanks for the tip, Steve!