For details visit http://www.nps.gov/depo/planyourvisit/hours.htm
PLOWING UPDATE 2011
Plows have made it all the way down the Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile Road. Engineering and fire crews are currently working to clear the road of debris, rockfall and other hazards. Due to excessive snow, water, and other hazards, the opening date has been postponed to June 29, 2011
Monument opening date has been postponed to June 29, 2011. You can also check for updates on our Facebook page or Twitter feeds.
HOURS OF OPERATION
The monument is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the operating season which is typically mid-June through mid-October. The Ranger Station is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
REDS MEADOW SHUTTLE BUS
The Reds Meadow Shuttle bus will begin operations June 29, 2011.
Visitors not meeting one of the exceptions must ride the shuttle bus. The tentative schedule for the 2011 season is as follows:
7:15am 8:15am once an hour
9:00am 5:00pm every 15 20 minutes
5:00pm 7:00pm every 30 minutes.
SEASONS AT DEVILS POSTPILE
Spring is not generally a long season in the Sierra. At Devils Postpile, it is the time that the meadows flood, the rivers swell, and everyone waits for roads to clear. Depending on the year, winter can hold on into June, dropping snow on nearby Mammoth Mountain until Fourth of July. But other years, the shooting stars start to bloom in early June, just as the water recedes from the meadows. Visitors in early June should check conditions often as road closures due to weather are not uncommon and typically opening dates are uncertain.
When the monument opens in mid-June, visitors can expect a relatively quiet experience with uncrowded trails, maybe a snow patch or two, and amazing water flows at both Rainbow Falls and Minaret Falls until Fourth of July weekend. After that, although the waterfalls are still full, so, too are park trails, overlooks, and shuttle buses. The mandatory Devils Postpile/Reds Meadow shuttle bus typically begins operations the second week in June (weather permitting) and runs through the Wednesday after Labor Day, which is considered the end of the summer season. In August, crowds peak, campgrounds are typically full during the weekends, and stream flows in the waterfalls diminish significantly. Although Rainbow Falls flows year round, it is most impressive in June and July. August, however, is typically the warmest month and the odds of good weather are in your favor. In 2010, however, it snowed at Devils Postpile the last week in August, so be prepared!
Fall is a beautiful time to be in the monument, but the weather can be a bit unpredictable. Generally, days are warm and nights are cold through early October. Blue skies prevail, but winter storms are not far away. Visitors in September and October will enjoy relatively uncrowded trails and facilities and fall color that typically peaks in early October. Be prepared for rapidly changing weather, particularly if visiting in October. The ranger station and campground are usually open through Columbus Day weekend, weather permitting. The monument is scheduled to be open every year until October 31, however, winter storms tend to move this closing date up most years. Temporary closures due to weather are not uncommon in the fall. If you catch it on the right day, however, there is nothing better than a cool fall breeze rustling the aspen and cottonwood trees along the San Joaquin River.
This may seem an odd time of year to visit Devils Postpile since the road is closed and the only access is by ski or snowshoe. But winter use is growing and the Reds Meadow Valley is a beautiful and wild place in this season. Trips into the Reds Meadow Valley are not for novice backcountry travelers. No facilities exist in the winter and the only way out of the valley is to climb the 1500+ feet back to the Minaret Vista. For the experienced backcountry traveler, however, many great adventures await. Make sure you have a solid knowledge of winter travel and basic avalanche safety equipment before journeying into the valley. Check with the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for current avalanche conditions, plan ahead, and it is best to not travel alone.
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