Cascade Falls Trails 17E04A

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, California 96154

Elevation Gain378ft
Trailhead Elevation6,888ft
Elevation Min/Max6787/6935ft
Elevation Start/End6888/6888ft

Cascade Falls Trails 17E04A

Cascade Falls Trails (17E04A) is a hiking trail in El Dorado County, California. It is within Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. It is 0.7 miles long and begins at 6,888 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 378 feet. The trail ends near the Cascade Falls yes. This trail connects with the following: Bayview Trail (17E04.1).

Cascade Falls Trails (17E04A) Professional Reviews and Guides

"Cascade Falls tumbles 200 feet down smooth granite rock into Cascade Lake. The hike to Cascade Falls follows a hillside ridge 350 feet above Cascade Lake, a glacially carved lake surrounded by forest. Also in full view to the north and east is Lake Tahoe 600 feet below. Beyond Cascade Falls along Cascade Creek are deep pools, tumbling white water, and superb picnic spots."

"A short hike leads to Cascade Falls, which during the height of snowmelt puts on a turbulent display of raucous watery splendor plummeting 200 feet down a granite cliff into Cascade Lake. Above the falls are several delightful picnic spots on granite slabs near swirling pools and tumbling cascades along aptly named Cascade Creek."

"This is a sweet, short scenic hike to a precipitous waterfall along a wide, soft dirt trail that crosses a sparse coniferous forest before it narrows along exposed terraced granite. It offers views of Cascade Lake, Lake Tahoe, and the surrounding majestic peaks.

Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America with 72.0 miles of shoreline, was formed two million years ago, and the basin was first inhabited by the Washoe. The history of Lake Tahoe and the basin’s discovery by Europeans, settlement, exploitation, and efforts at balancing recreation and development with conservation follows much the same chronology as most of California’s spectacularly resource-rich regions."

"Though the falls cascade out of sight, the views of Cascade
Lake and Lake Tahoe from the smooth granite slabs at trail’s
end crown this moderate trek.

Though not in view until the end of the trail, boisterous Cascade Creek spills out of the high country to fuel Cascade Falls and fill secluded Cascade Lake. The dark, still lake, cupped in a wooded bowl and surrounded by private property, is off-limits to hikers. The falls are off-limits too, rendered inaccessible by steep granite faces."

"Follow a rocky path to the raucous creek that feeds Cascade Falls. The falls themselves can only be viewed from a distance, but a seat on the granite terrace at the apex presents great views of Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe.

Cascade Creek spills out of the Desolation Wilderness, fueling Cascade Falls and filling secluded Cascade Lake. Both the falls and the dark, still lake are off -limits to hikers, with the falls rendered inaccessible by steep granite cliffs and the lake by private property. But above the misting cascades, hikers can cool their heels in pools and riffles on Cascade Creek, which courses over and among smooth granite slabs before taking the plunge."

"During the height of snowmelt, Cascade Falls is a turbulent display of raucous watery splendor tumbling 200 feet down a granite cliff into Cascade Lake.

The maintained trail Southwest Tahoe 161 Southwest Tahoe ends before the falls, requiring that hikers scramble over granite slabs and boulders to reach the brink of the falls, where adults should keep a watchful eye on children at all times. Above the falls are several delightful picnic spots near swirling pools and cascades, along appropriately named Cascade Creek."

"A brief walk through nicely spaced evergreens is a peaceful preamble to the rocky path and raucous creek at the end of the trail to Cascade Falls. Views of Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe add to the hike’s appeal."

Cascade Falls Trails (17E04A) Reviews

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I would definitely recommend this gorgeous trail to families or anyone just wanting to to not work too hard but want a breathtaking reward! It is an awesome wonderland of massive granite, streams, waterfalls, lakes, trees, and dramatic vistas. Cascade Lake is so beautiful and there is an awesome waterfall.
Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha - (water taxi saves 2.5 miles each way after 4th july) level easy-moderate (1-2?), 12.6mi but 7.6 with water taxi, +1040/-300 elev gain, 8310'elev Water taxi is$12 each way approx need to call - (and $5 for a dog) and 50 cents is needed to call for a boat on the return trip. what a nice hike! this late in the season we didn't even have mosquitos to deal with! the snow was completely gone off the trail. We walked the whole way in, but decided to take the taxi out, so it was total 10 miles. This hike is open along granite most of the way, very sunny! it was easy except for the trail has lots of granite stones where the trail would otherwise be washed away, and there is one long section where you're going steadily up - though not steep, it includes one long switch back and it's over 1/2 hour of steady climbing. That would have been much easier if the clouds had helped block the sun which always seems so much more intense at that elevation. There weren't many big "steps" so it's a good hike for a dog in that regaurd, but then again there is an awfully long distance where you're not at all close to water, so bring plenty with you for them. it was amazing how many people we caught up to once we passed the taxi drop off - felt like we were at the mall! Tamarack lake and over to ralston lake is where we went last year which totally cut out the steady incline part of the trail - it's not far at all and a great option if you don't want to go all the way to aloha. there are other lakes up there, but our destination was aloha since we'd hiked in earlier in the season from the other side. I think most of the overnight hikers were going to lake of the woods. photos:
This is the epitome of family hikes. It is a short hike that leaves all ages feeling accomplished at the end, but not like they are going to die from exaustion afterwards. The trail is awesome at the end too because there are several different coves that you can view the falls from and see Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe. I live in South Lake Tahoe and this is the trail I always bring people who either do not hike a lot or only have a short amount of time to hike (2 hours). The falls and the view act as an overall summary of the Tahoe region.
Great hike. Awesome view of the falls and the lake. We took our 3 kids, ranging from almost 3 years old to 8 years old. All 3 loved it and were able to do it without any trouble. It does have some steep ups and downs that will give you a workout if you are not accustomed to hiking, but overall it is a fairly easy hike. Plan some extra time to explore around the falls when you reach them! The trail is fairly well marked, but I do believe it is a little farther than this guide suggests.
Trail is a mixture of dirt through shady forest and rock on exposed slopes. A lot of up and down, but not too difficult. Very nice vistas, both on the trail and at Lake Aloha. The trail is pretty crowded on weekends, but much less so on weekdays. Water taxi is now $9.50 each way, (and $3.50 for a dog) and 50 cents is needed to call for a boat on the return trip. Parking at Echo Lake is pretty tight.
We opted to utilize the Echo Lakes water taxi (cost was $9.50 each way)to shorten the hike as we had children in our group. The steep ascent from Echo Lake boat ramp is very tough with rock rubble underfoot. Beyond, the trail leveled out but crossed a few patches of snow due to late winter storms. Great views of other lakes and wildflowers! Lake Aloha was full and swimmable, but COLD. Be sure to complete and carry the free permit at Echo Lake boat ramp at beginning of hike as rangers are checking for them--we met 2. They simply want a good count of usage to justify funding for trail maintenance, etc.
we had a great time on this trail. even our 8 year old was able to do it without much trouple. the falls were beautifull and we would recomend it to anyone.
This trail is easily accessible from the highway and therefore gets crowded on summer weekends. The trail is easy until you reach the falls. At that point, the easy day hike can be turned into a difficult hike by ascending the granite slopes adjacent to the waterfall. There is not a marked/maintained trail, but it is not hard for an experienced hiker to make their way to the top. At the top there are some alpine lakes and all of Desolation Wilderness to be explored. Bring your backpack and your camera. No beginners on these steep slopes please.

Cascade Falls Trails (17E04A) Photos

Trail Information

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Nearby City
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
US Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Forest Supervisor’s Office, 35 College Dr., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150; (530) 543-2600;
Local Contacts
USGS Emerald Bay CA; Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Map; National Geographic 803 Lake Tahoe Basin trail map; Tom Harrison Recreation Map of Lake Tahoe
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018