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Horsetail Falls Trail

MODERATE 144 reviews
#2 of 73 trails in

Horsetail Falls Trail is a 3.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Twin Bridges, CA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

3.3 miles 649 feet Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

muddy

rocky

A three mile round-trip hike gets you up close with this spectacular Tahoe waterfall. Late spring and early summer may be the best times to experience Horsetail Falls, but a hike up the Pyramid Creek trail to this spectacular waterfall is still a worthwhile experience at any time of the year. If you can find a parking spot at the busy US50 trailhead that is. Elevation gain: - 600ft (from 6,100 - 6,700ft)


6 minutes ago

hiking

Love the views here!


4 hours ago

hiking

We set out to hike this trail with our families and had an epic day of hiking and swimming. Four adults, and our combined three kids: 7, 11 and 12 years old. Two of the parents had done this one before a decade ago and remembered the importance of staying left of the waterfalls on the way up to avoid the slick rock areas. We were determined to get to Avalanche Lake safely. It turns out that kids LOVE to scramble on boulders, so they all enjoyed the hands and feet climbing for the last 500 feet or so up to the top. The amazing views up and down make this trip worth all the effort. It does require some patience to find your own path to the top since any trail signs disappear. Just keep an eye out for others' trail markers on the rocks - there all over.

Swimming at Avalanche Lake was a great way to cool off and there were amazingly few people up there - I think most people stop and enjoy the falls and pools below. The hike back takes patience as well, but the afternoon sun and views make this trip back very beautiful. Scrambling down might've taken longer than climbing up.

In all, we agreed that this hike is our new standard for effort and difficulty. Most Day hikes are probably much easier than this one but the views are tough to beat. Water is a big deal up here too - we ran out about 30 minutes from the car. Next time we'll bring a filter.


2 days ago

one of my faviroite hikes in the kyburz area and had had me coming back year after year. Trail does become hard to follow near the top and leaves you scrambling up the boulders. once at the top you can enjoy one of the many lakes and of course the view. pack light of your a day user. Trail does get crowded


7 days ago


7 days ago


13 days ago

hiking

Not for the old and infirm, especially if you're going to the top as we did. The last 700 feet you will need to climb to reach Avalanche Lake is very steep and nearly without a trail to follow. The best views of the creek are in the first 700 feet anyway.


15 days ago

hiking

We found this trail very interesting - particularly with the water ever present. It was, however, hard work, and a bit confusing at times.

The signage at the trailhead refers to a the Loop, Horsetail Falls, Cascades and Wilderness, but after about half a mile the choice given on the signs is Horsetail Falls to the right, Wlderness straight on.

In fact, if you take the turn to the right you quickly reach the Cascades, and from there have to press on northwards, across the granite, eventually picking up trail signs on the trees, to reach the entrance station to Desolation Wilderness.

Following the earlier "Wilderness" sign takes you a more direct route to the same point at the Wilderness entrance.

Once you reach the Wilderness entrance station, the trail is no longer marked and becomes ever more difficult to find and to access. It takes about half a mile of this before reaching the foot of the falls - and there is not much of a view of the falls until near the end, although the river is constantly visible on your right.

We gave up shortly before the end as the massive granite boulders which had to be climbed there were slippery and daunting. One of our party managed to climb high enough to have a full view of the falls, but the prospect of slipping down the boulders deterred others. Locals later told us of one hiker gashing a leg so badly on a boulder there, she had to be coptered out.

There is a very pleasant hike to be had by following the Horsetail Falls path on the way up to the Wilderness entrance, and coming back down by the more direct (and shorter) Wilderness Trail - without bothering with the more tricky half mile in the Wilderness. This is referred to on the map at the trailhead as "The Loop". The falls can be seen in most of its glory from farther back on this route, before the Wilderness is reached.

Finally, keep some strength in your legs for the final half mile home - the terrain is stony and slippery.


16 days ago


20 days ago

Beautiful hike..definitely recommend. Short but difficult hike. Amazing fresh cold water the whole time.


23 days ago


23 days ago

hiking

The hike was fun! I guess I'd say it was s moderate hike. We did not make it all the way to Avalanche lake though; we all started getting really hungry and turned back.

Like others said, keep the creek to your right on the way up and left on the way down. It was easy to lose the trail from time to time.


1 month ago


1 month ago


1 month ago

hiking

Killer hike to top. It starts out very easy and gets very difficult if you make it to the top. We had our 10 & 14 year old kids make it to the top with us. Tons of bouldering and rock climbing toward the top which made it extra fun for our kids. No real marked trail- we made our way up and back two different ways. You can access the falls most the way so stopping off for a dip or splash was nice on a hot July day. We finished with a swim at the high lake at the top. With a half a dozen water breaks, lunch stop 2/3rds up and a 30 min swim at the top we made it up and down in 5 hours at a leisurely pace. I'm sure you could fly up and back down in 3.5/4 hours. 1000' gain in elevation according to our device.


1 month ago

hiking

I agree the trail isn't always easy to see but can't really get lost. Awesome hike beautiful scenery everywhere.


1 month ago


1 month ago

Beautiful, but trail isn't well-marked at times.


1 month ago


1 month ago

hiking

Beautiful hike! Hard to see the trail at times, but was fun wandering around seeing everything while trying to stay on the trail, or find it again. It could definitely use more signs though.


1 month ago

hiking

Breathtaking views and followed the water most of the way up. We took two dogs and they did great! There was a fun spot to stop with water deep enough to swim in so take advantage of that if you can! Gorgeous day!