A little hike I like to do every spring is from Horseshoe Lake down to Lower Rainbow Falls by way of Mammoth Pass. The round trip hike is approximately 12-13 miles and 2500 feet ascent/descent. What I really like about this hike is that it is one of the few hikes where you mostly descend first, and then have to do all your climbing at the end of the day. This is also the part that can be treacherous for some if you are mentally and physically ready for the hike out. Once I get to the Rainbow falls area I typically swim around for a bit, eat lunch, and soak in the hot sun mixed with the cold fast-slowing water. But then comes the painful part when it’s time to start the 6+ miles back to the car which is almost all uphill in a sandy sun exposed area of the forest where a fire burned through it years ago.
That burn area is what makes the trek back to the car some work. Not only are you typically in the hottest part of the day, but there is also no way to avoid the sun, as the tallest living tree is maybe 15-feet at best. The fire was caused by lightning back in August of 1992. Surprisingly enough, not much was burned thanks to the local fire departments efforts. You can read more about it at: http://www.redsmeadow.com/history/
If you wish to see Upper and Lower Rainbow Falls (http://www.visitmammoth.com/things-to-do/summer-activities/rainbow-falls/) and not subject yourself to a long sun-exposed sandy hike, well then I have good news for you! There is an alternative:
Starting June 21st, leaving out of Mammoth Mountain’s main lodge area, the Red’s Meadow shuttle bus will be operating daily to bring visitors down into the Red’s Meadow areas. These include the famous Devil’s Postpile National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/depo/index.htm), access to and from the Pacific Crest Trail (http://www.pcta.org/), as well as the John Muir Trail (http://johnmuirtrail.org/), and then of course just a short hike into the Rainbow Falls area. If you plan on taking your dog(s) with you, please be advised that dogs are welcome and allowed on the shuttle, but it is required that they are muzzled. I am a dog owner, and muzzles are for bad behaving dogs only in my book, so now you can see why my dog and I choose to go the long to Rainbow Falls each year.
If you want to know more, give me a ring and I’ll happily fill you in!
Eric Leach / 949-690-5555 / Eric@ResortPropertyRealty.com