The road from Mammoth Mountain main lodge down to the Reds Meadow Valley is mostly single lane and somewhat trecherous. Combined with the fact that there are a very limited number of parking spaces available for private vehicles, visitors must take a shuttle bus when visiting the Devil's Postpile. This increases safety, reduced traffic congestion, and limits the amount of environmental damage on the surrounding wilderness.
Shuttle bus tickets may be purchased at the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge Gondola Building. Single day fares cost $7 for adults and $4 for children (3-15 years old). Children 2 and under are free. Three-day passes (for backpackers and campers) are $14/$8/free.
There are exceptions for certain vehicle uses including people with a disability placard, vehicles towing horse trailers or livestock, campers, guests of the Reds Meadow Resort, and administrative vehicles.
Unless you visit the monument after 7:30 a.m. or after 7:30 p.m, you are required to take the shuttle bus to the monument. Although I support the park system's shuttle bus concept, I generally dislike it was I prefer to drive places myself. But I wasn't complaining when I saw the steep one way route the bus had to take to get to Devil's Postpile. Its also a plus that you get to admire the scenery instead of negotiating the tricky road and pulling over at pullouts for traffic coming the other way.
The shuttles operate every 15-20 minutes and make stops at Red Meadow and other locations which are starting points for backpacking trips. You need to purchase a ticket a Mammoth Mountain in order to ride the shuttle. Also note that the shuttle is not accessible. Guests with disabilities are permitted to drive their own vehicles to the monument.
For most of the season, you have to take a shuttle bus from Mammoth Mountain ski resort to the sights within the monument. You'll realize why as you take the ride and see the very narrow, winding road. Too much traffic would make this place a real mess. The cost is $7 a pop, and National Park Passes won't do you any good. The buses themselves appear to be old school buses.
Note that you can avoid the buses and drive yourself if you get to the park before 7:00 in the morning or after 7:00 at night.
There are 10 stops, but based on what I saw, only the Postpile and Rainbow Falls get much attention. It was about a 25 minute ride from departure to the Ranger Station at the Postpile.
To reach the Devil's Postpile, you must take a bus from the Mammoth Mountain ski area. The bus takes you to a small ranger station, from which you hike about 1/2 mile to the actual Devil's Postpile formation.
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