Scenic USA - California

Devils Postpile

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Devils Postpile National Monument - California

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Once part of California's Yosemite Park, the Devils Postpile returned to protection of the National Park System as a National Monument in 1911. Devils Postpile National Monument - California Located in a valley under some of the most rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada Moutain Range, the park often receives more than 400 inches of snow each year, closing the park during winter months.
     Although some details of the geologic history of the Devils Postpile are not completely clear, geologists have pieced together much of the past activity near this continental subduction zone. The park's main feature, the columnar basalt columns, were formed from a plug of cooling lava nearly 100,000 years ago. During the last ice age, glaciers flowed down the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, Devils Postpile National Monument - California carving away one side of the Postpile, and exposing these uniquely shaped three to seven sided columns. A powerful force, frost wedging has slowly pealed off rows of these columns, giving visitors a close-up look at these rock oddities.
      Further south along the San Joaquin River is another reason for the park's popularity, Rainbow Falls. This 100 foot waterfall crashes off a cliff of volcanic rock, creating a rainbow in the mist of a midday sun.
      Visitors to the park are first greeted with an overlook to the Minaret Vista, then a narrow winding road, one-lane in places, leads down to the Devils Postpile, Reds Meadow, and the Rainbow Falls Trailhead. With a limited parking area, mandatory shuttle bus service at certain times of the year reduces traffic congestion and parking problems. More and more parks are moving to shuttle buses, an eco-friendly method of park transportation.

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