Horsetail Falls

Twin Bridges, California 95735

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Tumbling down the head of the deep, ice-sculpted, granite cleft of Pyramid Creek canyon, the thin ribbon of Horsetail Falls is dramatically scenic at any time of year, but especially spectacular during the height of snowmelt.

Located a mere 1.5 miles from a major highway linking the Sacramento Valley with Lake Tahoe, conditions are ripe for this area to be very popular with both recreationists and sightseers alike. Recent parking improvements and construction of a short loop trail have made the area even more attractive."

More Horsetail Falls Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Top Trails Lake Tahoe (Wilderness Press)
Mike White
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"Tumbling down the head of the deep, ice-sculpted granite cleft of Pyramid Creek canyon, the thin ribbon of Horsetail Falls is dramatically scenic at any time of year, but especially spectacular during the height of snowmelt. Located a mere 1.5 miles from a major highway linking the Sacramento Valley with Lake Tahoe, conditions are ripe for this area to become very popular with both recreationists and sightseers alike. Parking improvements and construction of a short loop trail have made the area even more attractive." Read more
Top Trails Sacramento (Wilderness Press)
Steven L. Evans
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"Sacramentans desiring to view one of the most scenic waterfalls in the Sierra Nevada need only drive a short distance up Hwy 50 and hike 1.5 miles to visit spectacular Horsetail Falls. Easily one of the top 10 waterfalls in California, Horsetail competes with the falls of Yosemite Valley when it comes to scenic grandeur. Unfortunately, it also competes with Yosemite Valley in terms of crowds and parking fees. But its proximity to Sacramento and its easy access are hard to beat. Even if you don’t make it all the way to the base of the falls, the cascades on lower Pyramid Creek make for a fine family outing." Read more
Hiking Waterfalls in Northern California (Falcon Guides)
Tracy Salcedo-Chourré
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"No proper trail leads to the giant spill of whitewater that pours from the heights of the Desolation Wilderness above Twin Bridges, but the path along Pyramid Creek offers great views of the waterfall, as well as an up-close visit to a lovely cataract. Though visible from US 50 as you descend a switchback from Echo Summit to Twin Bridges—in fact, a traffic stopper in peak season—Horsetail Falls is relatively remote. No established trail leads directly to the base or to the summit, which is high in the Desolation Wilderness. But the trail along Pyramid Creek offers great views of the waterfall, and the creek rocks with excitement when flush with meltwater. Pyramid Creek, Horsetail Falls, and the cascades run year-round, fed by outflows from alpine lakes high in the wilderness, including Avalanche Lake, Pitt Lake, Ropi Lake, and Lake of the Woods. Only the top few tiers of the falls can be seen from the trail." Read more

Horsetail Falls Reviews

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7/25/2012
Horsetail falls are a beautiful must see trail for anyone traveling on the 50 corridor, but the hike to the very top is not for everyone. You can hike to middle falls on a safe trail to beautiful vistas. However, the trail from middle falls to the top is not well marked, very steep and you are either bouldering or scrambling, sometimes up and down very steep granite and rock. If you go all the way up, stay closer to the water vs veering off to the left. It gets much steeper if you turn left too soon! There are great lakes behind the falls once you reach the top and the views and acccess to pyramid are great!
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6/7/2010
amazing panoramic views of the lake and the great basin. Lots of cool rocks along the way. Easy-Moderate Hike. 10' berms of snow still on Peak
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Horsetail Falls Photos

Trail Information

Twin Bridges
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
3
Distance
650 feet
Elevation Gain
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
1.5 to 2 hours
Duration
Best June through October
Season
Waterfalls
Features
Eldorado National Forest at 530-644-2324, www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado
Local Contacts
ENF and LTBMU A Guide to the Desolation Wilderness
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018