Sierra Rec Magazine- National Monument Updates – June 27, 2017 – Forest engineers are assessing storm damage to the Reds Meadow and Devils Postpile Road and there is no estimated opening date for the road at this time. Crews have only recently been able to get into the Reds Meadow Valley after plowing operations were completed.
The Reds Meadow and Devils Postpile Road remain closed to vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians, and work is in progress to make necessary repairs.
This road, which accesses prized destinations such as Devils Postpile National Monument, Reds Meadow, and Rainbow Falls Trailhead, has received storm damage after the substantial snowpack from this winter and the subsequent melt-off and flooding.
The Forest Service is requesting an evaluation from a Geotechnical Specialist to assess the road. The concern is a series of longitudinal cracks along the road’s edge as well as holes in the pavement that seem to permit water flow beneath the road. The intent of the assessment is to determine if the cracking has led to instability in the roadbed and determine safe load limits for the road.
The Inyo National Forest, Devils Postpile National Monument, and partners continue to conduct necessary repairs to open roads, which includes brushing, culvert and drainage clearance, repairing potholes, and plowing parking areas, as well as getting water and wastewater systems operational along the road following a record-breaking year for winter snowpack at 200% of normal. In a typical year, the road to the monument does not open until mid to late June.
“We appreciate your patience while we work through the many maintenance issues to re-open the Reds Meadow Road,” said Mono and Mammoth Lakes District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge. “Part of what makes the Reds Meadow Valley so special also presents maintenance and safety concerns that this past winter illustrate. Our primary concern is to safely open this narrow mountain road for our visitor’s enjoyment.”
National Park Service Superintendent Dulen at Devils Postpile National Monument, added, “Trail crews are hard at work repairing the damages on the trail to the base of Rainbow Falls while working safely at the extremely high river levels. With the river levels this year, this work will proceed into the fall. The trail to the base of the Falls will remain closed until work is completed.”
Hikers or backpackers should be prepared for winter hiking and camping conditions, with snow and ice on trails. River crossings are high and swift moving. There are several high water areas currently flooding the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the John Muir Trail (JMT). Anyone planning a trip on the PCT through the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin Valley should use caution and be prepared to turn back in the event of high water crossings.