FEELING SALTY? It definitely happens. Sometimes our mood becomes a little prickly, prompting our friends and family members to kindly steer clear of us for a few minutes, giving us a chance to cool our heels. But if you're feeling basalty, that's an entirely different and oh-so-delightful matter. If you're basalty, you might be longing for a road trip, to the Eastern Sierra, near Mammoth Mountain, where one of the Golden State's most unusual natural wonders brings basalt-centered beauty to an exquisitely beautiful landscape. It's Devils Postpile National Monument we're feeling basalty over, a not-so-easy-to-reach marvel that is famous for its strange and stately basalt columns, and countless pieces of former columns, rocky chunks piled up, picturesquely, at the base of the columns.
DEVILS POSTPILE... isn't totally hard-to-reach, of course, but it is shuttered for over half of the year due to snowfall and impassable road conditions. But here's some news to be basalty over: The route into the monument, and nearby Reds Meadow, has now been cleared for the 2022 season, and the remarkable region will officially reopen on Friday, June 17. Taking a shuttle down to the hike-tastic area from the Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge? Pretty much "almost everyone" must choose this option, says the National Park Service, so be sure to secure your ticket at the Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center (they're $15 for an adult and $7 for kids ages 3 to 15).
HAPPENING NOW: If you thought wildflowers had wrapped their 2022 run, be prepared to be excited: Blossoms are beginning to open in the area, a common but uncommonly sublime Sierra sight as summer arrives. Also? The waterfalls, including the powerfully prismatic Rainbow Falls, are looking especially gushy as spring comes to a close. Read up on visiting, the hours to keep in mind, how to secure a ticket and a shuttle ride, and all of the basalty stuff now. Shuttle service will conclude on Sept. 11, 2022.