Columns of the Giants, California

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Columns of the Giants

When coming to Yosemite National Park, many take a side trip to the Columns of Giants in Stanislaus National Forest, to get a view of these amazing geologic formations. Read More

  • The Columns of Giants in Stanislaus National Forest provides views of amazing geologic formations
  • Visit from early May to late October
  • Take a short interpretive hike to the columns
  • Stop in Pinecrest to see the Me-Wuk Outdoor Exhibit
  • Camp out and fish the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River


The Columns of Giants, near Dardanelle, California, is an unusual formation of basalt columns, stretching high into the sky and offering an incredible view of what Mother Nature is capable of. At an elevation of 6,329 feet, a short hike will take you close to these wonders.

Location & Information

You can reach the Columns of the Giants from Yosemite National Park by taking Highway 120 out of the park and continuing on California Highway 49. Turn right on California Highway 108 to Columns of the Giants. It is 24 miles east of the Summit District Ranger Office in Pinecrest.

The best time to visit this special attraction is from early May to late October.

Contact information:
Stanislaus National Forest
Summit District
#1 Pinecrest Lake Road
Pinecrest, CA 95364


  • Visiting the Shadow of the Me-Wuk Outdoor Exhibit
    When in Pinecrest, you’ll find the Me-Wuk Outdoor Exhibit where you can see how these Native Americans lived.
  • Hiking
    There is an easy trail (only .25 miles long) that takes you to the Column of the Giants, with interpretive signs to give you information about this area. If you want more views, back towards Pinecrest on Highway 108, you’ll find another short trail (Donnell Vista) that brings you to an overlook with beautiful vistas of the Donnell Reservoir and the Middle Fork Stanislaus River Canyon.
  • Fishing
    Throw in a line at the nearby Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River for some great fishing.
  • Camping
    Right next to the Column of the Giants interpretive walk is the Pigeon Flat Campground, situated along the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River. Their walk-in campsites have tables and fire rings as well as vault toilets.

Fun Facts

The pentagonal and hexagonal columns of the Columns of the Giants resulted from long-ago volcanic activity.