A massive blowdown last November through parts of the eastern Sierra has… (U.S. Forest Service )
Devils Postpile National Monument and Reds Meadow Valley have been closed indefinitely since a blowdown last fall felled tens of thousands of trees across a large swath of California's eastern Sierra, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The powerful wind storm on Nov. 30 caused tree falls from Tioga Pass to Whitney Portal, damage that crews are still trying to clean up as the back country prepares to open for summer recreation, the Forest Service said in a statement.
The Inyo National Forest area near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., reports the storm damaged roads, picnic tables, campgrounds, bear boxes and toilets in the valley near Mammoth Lakes, Calif. The Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail were blocked by trees; other trails in the Mammoth Lakes Basin are affected as well.
Usually Devils Postpile visitors drive the steep road or buy a ticket for a shuttle that runs from the Mammoth Mountain ski resort to the trail head. From there trails lead to the spectacular 60-foot-high rock formation and Rainbow Falls.
"Crews and equipment are working really hard on clearing the area, and the trails to the Postpile and Rainbow Falls are open, but at this time with all of the work going on and the condition of some of the roads, the main access road down into Reds Meadow (which is also the access road to Devils Postpile) is closed with no projection for opening at this time," spokeswoman Nancy Upham said in an e-mail. "We are hoping for before the Fourth of July.
Campgrounds at Reds Meadow, Devils Postpile, Minaret Falls, Pumice Flat, Soda Springs, Agnew are shut. Reservations are suspended this month, but are being accepted for July and beyond.
For updates on conditions, call the Mammoth Welcome Center at (760) 924-5500, the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office at (760) 873-2483 or visit the forest's Wind Storm of November 2011 Web page.