Rainbow Falls is a beautiful waterfall in Devils Postpile National Monument in California. There is a short hike to the waterfall, and you have to ride the shuttle into the monument, so make sure to click on the link above for those details.
To begin the hike to Rainbow Falls, ride to shuttle stop #9. There is a short walk through the parking lot and past the restrooms to the beginning of the trail. This hike runs around 1.3 miles to the waterfall (2.6 roundtrip) and slopes gently downhill on the way to the falls. Our 5 year-old hiked the entire distance to and from the falls. There is not much shade on the hike, so be sure to wear sunscreen.
The hike starts in the trees. After a few hundred yards there is a junction with the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) and John Muir Trail (JMT). There are signs directing you to Rainbow Falls, so it is difficult to get lost. After awhile the sky opens up and there is a small footbridge. Eventually the trail turns to the right and you can hear the roar of the falls. It is only a short distance to the overlook from that point.
Rainbow Falls is absolutely amazing in its height and beauty. It has a wide even curtain and plunges just over a hundred feet. As promised in the name, a beautiful rainbow hangs across the feet of the waterfall. Some people complained that you couldn’t get to the base of the falls, and that is true. You actually view the falls from about fifteen feet above the precipice. But you can still feel the spray on your face, and the angle is just right for pictures.
We liked Devil’s Postpile National Monument, but the real reason to visit is Rainbow Falls. Don’t take the trouble to go if you miss this hike! It was definitely the highlight of our trip.