Sierra Adventure: Hwy 395

I’ve driven past the signs for Devils Postpile along Califronia’s Hwy 395 many times, but only just now got in there for a visit. The “post pile” is a geologic formation of basaltic columns, or columnar basalt. Early shepherd settlers in the area thought it looked like a pile of posts ready to make a fence. It was originally called Devils Woodpile but somehow changed to Postpile. The devil got associated because the shepherds believed anything to do with the underworld, i.e. lava, had do do with the devil. You can read more about the formation and such at the Devils Postpile Wikipedia Site.

This sort of columnar basalt is not unique to California. I think a better showing is along the Deschutes River in Oregon. Don’t plan your whole vacation around this spot, but do stop by if you have time while crusing down 395 or are going to be doing a backpacking trip in the area. It’s also good for families as the postpile is only half a mile walk from the parking lot and camp ground. I stayed at the Red’s Meadow camp ground which is a little more expensive than the Devils Postpile campground, but I found it worth it. The night shots below are all at Red’s Meadow Campground.

Mono Lake is always worth a visit and is very easy to get to from 395. If you’re keen to get some good photography, poach a camping spot along one of the many dirt tracks that spur from the road off 395 to Mono Lake and get up at sunrise. These photos were from the middle of the day.

All the images below are available for purchase as prints. Just click on the image to go to the gallery. There are also more images than shown here.

About the author

Adventure Correspondent Cameron L. Martindell is a freelance adventure travel and expedition writer, photographer and filmmaker who founded in 2000. He has contributed to Elevation Outdoors Magazine, The Gear Junkie, National Geographic, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Outside, Backpacker, Wired, Australian Geographic, and others. He has been to all seven continents and lived on five of them, including a four-month stint at the South Pole. Cameron has more than 10 years of mountain search and rescue experience, is an Eagle Scout, has been an Australian bush firefighter, competes in sailing regattas, plans national and international youth programs, guides Oregon rafting trips and Australian bush backpacking trips.


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