Hiking the Spectacular Horsetail Falls

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Horsetail Falls is quite the sight right now!  If you’ve made the drive from the Bay Area or Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50, then you’ve probably seen the rushing falls just prior to reaching Echo Summit.  Those are Horsetail Falls!  These amazing falls are located two miles east of the small town of Strawberry at Twin Bridges.  You can pick up the trailhead at Pyramid Creek, which has a pretty decent sized parking lot.  You’ll gain an elevation of about 1,000 feet and the hike can take anywhere from 3-5 hours total depending how much time you want to spend at the summit of the falls and exploring in Desolation Wilderness.  I would suggest you do some exploring!

Several of us hiked the falls this past weekend.  It was actually quite busy for this early in the spring/summer season, but there’s plenty of room on the trail.  We started at about 8:15am.  There are several trail options through the woods as you can pretty much determine your own way up.  We followed Pyramid Creek and first passed Cascade Vista, which is an amazing running fall over smooth granite rock.  Continuing along, you’ll come to a sign taking you into Desolation Wilderness.  Below are some pictures.

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

After a few short stream crossings and travel through a wooded section, we reached the steep rock slabs just below the falls.  This is where the trail gets steep and more technical.  We scrambled up the rocks just to the side of the falls and made it to the top where there are beautiful little pools and interconnected waterways surrounded by beautiful mountains and saddles.  The ground is mostly snow covered right now, so it’s not easy to see all of the beautiful waterways just quite yet.  We spent some time exploring and relaxing.  I even took a quick dip.  It was probably some of the coldest water I’ve ever swam in! After about 30 minutes, we made our way back down.  See more pictures below.

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

The hike starts out moderate and if you’re not into scrambling up the rock slabs to the top of the falls you can just follow the Pyramid Creek Loop.  If you follow the creek, make sure to dip near the water as there are some fun pools to swim in when the water is a bit warmer in the summer.  Scrambling up the rocks and boulders to reach the top of the falls can be quite strenuous and dangerous.  It’s important if you continue up that far to make sure you have the right equipment.   As soon as you reach the top of the falls, if you look left you will see Pyramid Peak, at almost 10,000 feet above sea level.  Below are some more pictures from our fantastic day.

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe
Pyramid Peak

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Lake Tahoe

As I mentioned you want to start at the Pyramid Creek trailhead. To get there from South Lake Tahoe, follow Highway 50 through Meyers.  Continue over Echo Summit, also known as Johnson’s Pass.  Once you come down the other side, you’ll continue further to where you’ll see a parking lot on the right.  You can park there and it costs $5.

You can see my Geo Tracker here below:

Granite Rocx, Horsetail Falls, Geo Tracker

Horsetail Falls is a great hike!  It’s a hike for all types and skills of hikers.  Have you hiked Horsetail Falls?  If so, or if you might in the near future make a comment below!  Also, follow us on twitter @graniterocx!

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