Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls
4.5
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Duration: 2-3 hours
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4.5
330 reviews
Excellent
228
Very good
83
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16
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Deborah V
San Diego, CA17 contributions
Jun 2022
Beautiful waterfall. You can see other folks reviews on the hike. I'm going to give the logistics we used to get there.
We were only in town for a long weekend, no car
From our condo (Snowcreek), we took the Town Trolley into "the Village". The trolley is red and green and looks like a trolley (smaller than the bus, lots of windows). The Trolley was free.
From the Village, we changed to the bus that takes bikes up to the top of the mountain. (painted white, larger than the Trolley, had a bike trailer that would hold 15 or so bikes on the back). Might read "Bike Park" on the front in the lights. The 'bike park' bus was free
All of the stops were near-ish to Toomey's restaurant.
Okay, after taking the white, 'bike park', bus to the Mammoth Mountainside, we were dropped off in front of a statute of a woolly mammoth. From there, we walked to the Adventure Center and purchased for $15 a ticket on the Red Meadow shuttle.
My travel companion was told the shuttle would be painted red. It was not. It was white. It looked like the bus for the Bike Park, but without the bike trailer on it. It picked us up at the same woolly mammoth statue drop off point. It had Red Meadows in the light above the windshield. Note that we took the shuttle several hours after we purchased the tickets
The driver gave us advice, and we got off at stop #9.
We were told it was a 45 minute walk to the falls and 1 hour back (slight incline).
We made it in 1:30, including a brief stop at the falls, because we were rushed. I had to rush my travel companion. I would suggest allowing for more time, but we made other choices before the hike so we were time crunched.
The hike to the falls (we skipped Devil's postpile) is an out and back. You catch the bus very close to where it dropped off, but you do need to climb a few steps across the street, and catch the bus at the campground.
There is a bathroom close to the trailhead.
We were warned that if we missed the last bus (which was the one we were taking), we would have to either spend the night somewhere at the campgrounds or try to walk several miles to the ranger station to get cell phone coverage to call a taxi. So we rushed to be sure we didn't miss the last bus.
Written June 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AshofAllTravels
California66 contributions
Aug 2020 • Family
Amazing hike with great views of the falls and a lovely place to have a snack while you cool off in the water. We started our hike at the Devil's Postpile parking lot. On a Friday morning it was almost full by 845am. The hike takes you right past Devil's Postpile which is amazing. We hiked all the way down to the falls and wet our feet in the water. We stayed for a few hours having snacks and taking in the scene! We loved the wild flowers and the falls! Definitely a hike worth doing but go early or later in the day! It is hot and dry on the way back in the hotter part of the day so take plenty of water! There are also no facilities!
Written August 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GoGatorsWayne
Odessa, FL797 contributions
Jul 2021
Enjoy the falls, but it will be crowded. We were sad because a group of drunk people had hiked to the crest of the falls and were seeing how close they could get to the edge of the water flow without falling off (which I fully expected them to do). It was a shame to try and enjoy this natural wonder when someone is whooping and hollering trying to cause a scene and get attention. You may not have this group to deal with, but just prepare to share the falls with alot of people. These people also tried scaling the loose rock above the falls and caused alot of erosion and damage as they repeatedly fell down the embankment.
Written July 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Juiette10
Los Angeles, CA10 contributions
Jul 2020 • Family
After reading the reviews we decided to come before 8 am. We decided to start our hike at the lower parking area of the Red Meadows resort. Even around that time parking was relatively full.
The hike I feel was about less than 2 miles round trip. It is a fairly flat trail with some shade. It’s best to wear a hat, sunscreen and face covering when hiking this trail. Bring a small snack and water bottle too.
Rainbow falls is a beautiful sight to see and truly worth the hike. Most people were wearing mask or face covering and the trail is wide enough that you can stay socially distant. But it can get crowded nearer to the falls and the stairs going down to the lower falls can get crowded.
Written July 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jeff D
Murrieta, CA328 contributions
Jul 2020
We started out hike from the Devils Post Pile Ranger Station. We arrived around 8:30 am and there were already many cars there. I suggest you start early. I know there are times you have to take a bus to get there because the parking lots fill up. I heard due to COVID the busses were not running but the lots were filling up fast So arrive early. From the Post Pile parking area its 2.5 miles to the falls The trails is easy with just a couple hills that may get you breathing a little faster. We hiked with our 11 and 13 year old kids and it was super easy for us. The last 3/4 mile to the falls you are in open sun so bring sun screen. We were here in mid July and started at 48 Deg. air temp. By the time we got back it was 83 deg. Once at the falls there are some amazing views and a steep stairway that leads you right down to the water. My Son and I took the rocks right to the bottom of the falls where you are getting wet. It's a great spot to take a break and enjoy the super cold water prior to hiking out. Bring water, sun screen, and maybe a snack. We saw many people that looked like they were not in good enough shape to be hiking this trail. Many looked like they were unprepared and had no water. People were sitting in the shade looking like they were about to pass out. So take water not a can of Monster, maybe a good snack, and plan plan a couple hours. There are many things to see along the trail and make sure you check out the wood bridge that crosses the San Juaquin River. Its located about half way down the trail and only 150 feet off the trail. This is where the PCT trail crosses the rover.

So the hike is worth the view. Start early and bring water. plan on a half day and check out the Devils Post Pile which is on the same trail. It's well worth the effort and a great experience.
Written July 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nagashri K
Sacramento, California, United States8 contributions
Jul 2021
The hike to this fall is worth it. You can hike from Devils Post pile or from the trailhead right near the bus stop. It is not an easy hike - I would call it moderate. Beautiful views along the way. Do make sure to climb down the staircase and get to the bottom of the falls. You can swim at the base, hang out, etc.

Couple of things to note: You will have to take a bus from the adventure center at Mammoth Lakes to get here. The bus tickets get sold out ahead of time. So, book them a few days prior. If you do not have a reservation, you will need to wait a MINIMUM of 2-3 hours before you can board a bus.

If at all possible, hike early in the morning. There is not a lot of shade on the trail. So, it gets pretty, pretty hot in the afternoon. Take tons of water.
Written July 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Momof3boys11235
Corona, CA58 contributions
Aug 2023
We loved our hike up to Rainbow Falls! We took the tram to Reds Meadow from up at the Main Lodge Adventure Center for $15 each. It was well worth it to not have to worry about getting there before 7:00am (or after 6:00pm). Also, the road is very narrow and windy and it's just better to pay for the nice round trip. We bought our tickets online a day or so before,but you can get them at the window of the Adventure Center before getting on. I just wanted to make sure they didn't sell out. We got up there at about 9:15 which I think is a good idea to start early if you can! We stopped at #6 to hike to Devil's Postpile first (actually Minaret Falls as well - one mile each way up and back). To do all of these was a great day! The views at Rainbow Falls are amazing. Go down the stairs to the Lower Falls to see them up close and feel the mist!
Written August 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John379
West Chester, PA714 contributions
Jun 2020
We had come up in the middle of the day to do the hike and the trails were a little to crowded so we decided to come back the next day early. It was a much better hike as few people were out walking. A must do and not a difficult walk.
Written July 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Firemonkey C
Napa, CA16 contributions
Aug 2021
Take the shuttle to the Rainbow Falls stop AFTER Devil's Post Pile. It's less crowded and downhill and only 20 min hike to the falls. Start early before 9 am to beat the crowds. Signs are confusing. The falls are gorgeous. The crowds are the only problem. I didn't go down the steps because kids were throwing rocks. You are going to be sore after this hike. It takes about 3-4 hours. I also hiked the lower falls. There are bees due to the wildflowers. This hike is hard for kids under 5. It's too long for little kids. Poor dogs, they were overheated. There should be a ranger at the falls. People are so stupid.
Written August 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

araxas
Colorado Springs, CO230 contributions
Oct 2022
Scenic water fall at the end of a hike that is well worth the effort. Easy to combine Rainbow Falls with the Devils Postpile all in one afternoon. Worth a visit, but be prepared to walk a bit over a forest path to get there. Easy hike - but not a sidewalk!
Written October 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Rainbow Falls - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)