Devil's Postpile is a short stroll down the river

The columns are grand, and astonishing. Even if you haven't yet seen them in the postcard racks near the Mammoth ski resort area, they have the look of a supersized 3-D postcard themselves. This is a view from the trail, where there are benches to look at the cliff. From this angle, it is clearly a natural phenomenon, though the vertical portions are startlingly monument-like. It doesn't have the scale of Yosemite, if you have just driven over Tioga Pass, but the cliff is spectacular for what it is.

The famous cliffs of the National Monument

The columns formed in lava that was not splashed out on the ground, but cooled under the surface, making a gigantic almost crystaline stress pattern. When erosion got to this rock, it fractured the cliff along these hexagonal fractures. Other basalt cliffs sometimes have shorter structures somewhat like this, layered and twisted. This lava must have been incredibly stationary and slow cooling.

The Walk to Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls Continues

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