Mary West: Hiking the Devil’s Postpile in Sierra County
This is more of a driving adventure than a hike, but worth the off-road miles to see this unique site. To be fair the road is in very good condition, paved most of the way. About two miles from the trail, there was a rough spot in the road that would make low profile vehicles think twice or stop and turn around. You could easily hike in from this point.
I took Highway 49 north out of Nevada City, through Yuba County and into Sierra County. We took a left on Brandy City Road/Cal-Ida Mill Road. Follow the paved road. Keep left to continue toward 25 National Forest Rd/Eureka Mine Rd.
Continue onto Reese Ravine Rd. to Devils Postpile Trail.
Once you park off the road near the trailhead, you have a short 1/10th of a mile hike uphill to the Devil’s Postpile. You can see it through the trees as you climb. It is so strange that you just want to stare at it, as if you expect it to move. My son Canyon said it looked like Play-dough squeezed through a colander. I asked my friend and geologist Robert Sydnor about the rock formation. “This is columnar jointing in basalt. The most famous example in California is Devil’s Postpile National Monument, near Mammoth. The basalt flow cooled rapidly, forming hexagonal cracks.”
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My son and I hiked all over the pile and around the area enjoying the flowers. The mountain and canyon views are impressive on the way in and out. This may be the shortest of trails but I just had to share it with you.
Mary West is the author of the book series Day Hiker – Gold Country Trail Guide. The books are a collection of Day Hiker columns where West shares her longtime love of the outdoors, and favorite hikes in Northern California’s Gold Country and beyond (Available on Amazon). West was the recipient of the 2017 and 2019 CRAFT Award for Best Outdoor Newspaper Column by the Outdoor Writers Association of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.
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