Rainbow Falls Trail


This trail was impacted by a powerful wind event on Nov. 30, 2011. Thousands of trees were blown down in the Reds Meadow area, affecting this trail as well as access to the John Muir and Pacific Crest trails. Click this link to view photos, maps and information about the clean up effort.

This sunny and open, moderate hike leads to spectacular views of Rainbow Falls. The waterfall often has a rainbow in the mist from the falls and is a popular day hike or destination for horseback rides.

At a Glance

Rentals & Guides: Reds Meadow Pack Train is located near Reds Meadow Resort. 1(800) 292-7758
Fees Visitors to the Reds Meadow Valley pay a per-person transportation fee which allows use of the mandatory shuttle bus. Call Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center for more information. (760)924-5500.
Permit Info: Overnight trips beyond Rainbow Falls require a wilderness permit. Day use does not require a permit. Download area map for trail names
Open Season: Road closed in winter.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: - No campfires above 10,000 ft and additional specific locations, see Maps of Campfire Restrictions.
- Camping is not allowed at Rainbow Falls.
- Camping within the boundaries of Devils Postpile National Monument is limited to designated campground sites.
- Bear containers are required for storage of food and trash (overnight trips).
- Overnight wilderness trips require a wilderness permit. Look at the area map to determine trail names.
- Quota is in effect from May 1 to November 1.
- Ansel Adams Wilderness regulations apply.
Closest Towns:  Mammoth Lakes
Water: Water from creeks, lakes and springs should be treated before drinking.
Restroom: Please Leave No Trace. Bury human waste away from water sources.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: For area information call the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center (760) 924-5500

General Information


Leave Hwy 395 at Hwy 203 to the town of Mammoth Lakes. Turn right on Minaret Road and go to Mammoth Mountain Adventure Center (Main Lodge) for long term parking and to board the mandatory shuttle to the trailhead. Shuttle stop #8 is the Rainbow Falls trailhead or use shuttle stop #10 at Reds Meadow Resort if you want to visit the market or other resort services.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



Hide detail HIDE

Day Hiking

Horse Riding & Camping

Show detail SHOW
Areas & Activities


  • Fee revenues make a diffrence
    Thank you. Your fees make a difference!

    National Forests in California are using recreation fee revenues to improve and enhance recreation opportunities. See how your fees have made a difference!


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
7,670 ft. at Rainbow Falls trailhead. - 7,377 at Rainbow Falls


USFS Emblem and Travel Management

OHV & Travel Management Information Link opens in a new window