Mary West: Hiking the Devil’s Postpile in Sierra County |

Mary West: Hiking the Devil’s Postpile in Sierra County

Mary West

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.”

Support Local Journalism

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.

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Connect with needs and opportunities from

Get immediate access to organizations and people in our area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User