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Still under snow the entire way, so ty oil longer than expected. Beautiful views. My dog (wee but with huge attitude beagle/terrier/daschund/mini heeler) struggled with the snow at times but mostly because she went off trail. Can't wait to do it again when the wildflowers are out.

Update 04/22/18: The parking lot is closed and the signage says that place is closed for the season. No roadside parking allowed, hence, I couldnt do this trail. Sad as I was looking forward to do the hike.

We did this on our honeymoon, I was in a car accident about a month before and had back injuries so I couldn't do anything crazy but this was perfect and beautiful!

Nice easy hike, as with all hikes in this area it can get busy on weekends and during the summer. Don’t be surprised to see people hiking in flip flops. You do walk over large boulders so finding the trail in this section can be a little tricky, especially if there’s snow on the ground. Beautiful view of Cascade Lake and side view of Cascade Falls.

hiking
12 days ago

Bayview Campground closed for season, reopening in late May. Parking available at Inspiration Point and just off Highway 89. Walk through Bayview Campground adds 0.3 miles to the route; it's blanketed in packed snow as of 4/9.

Having seen Cascade Lake dotted with surrounding snow from Highway 89, I wanted to photograph it from the west (rather than north or northeast). I hadn't yet done a sunset hike in Tahoe and, even though the trail's orientation is geared towards a sunrise, Cascade Falls seemed like an inviting trek. Its short distance and negligible elevation allowed me to get on the trail less than an hour before sunset.

The first portion of the trail goes through Bayview Campground, at least during the winter. Even with the recent warm rainfall and prevalent sunlight, an icy blanket of snow covers the campground, aided by the wooded surroundings. This should mostly melt by May. I saw cross-country skiers in the campground, a concerning premonition as I expected the trail to be mostly snow-free. The path winds its way through a covered forest, easily discernible as footprints are firmly indented in the snow.

The first half of the hike is uneventful without views. However, the trail presently narrows and the landscape opens, ascending sharply up a snow-covered rock. This provides the first view of Cascade Lake. The trail narrows further along the rock face, protruding rocks and steps aiding icy footing until the trail becomes relatively exposed. As of 4/9, there's little snow remaining on the latter section of the trail; the snow/ice that remains is easily passable with hiking boots.

As the trail approaches the falls, it gradually disappears into the rocky landscape. You're free to find a route to an optimal viewpoint. There's no single "best" outlook- there are multiple, some of which offer a view of Cascade Lake primarily, others which allow you to view the falls from a side, and one or two that provide both. In the summertime, trailblazing to Snow Lake seems like an inviting full-day endeavor.

This trail provides arguably the best view-to-effort ratio of any trail in Tahoe. There are two main attractions: a Cascade Lake view just off the trail at 0.6 miles, and Cascade Falls itself. Especially during the waking or waning hours of the day, Cascade Lake is unbelievably vivid and the roaring falls somehow serene. A less crowded alternative to Eagle Lake, the Cascade Falls Trail is a wonderful opportunity to spend a 30-60 minute slot.

Keep in mind that, even though this is called "Cascade Falls Trail," there's never a head-on view of the falls as with Glen Alpine, Eagle, or Horsetail Falls. That aside, it's a great winter/spring trek with unrivaled views of Cascade Lake with the calming atmosphere a roaring waterfall provides.

hiking
15 days ago

Permit required to enter Desolation Wilderness (last 1/3 section of hike), parking available at trailhead during open season. As of 4/7, the trailhead is closed, and parking must be found elsewhere; there are some spots just off the highway to park.

After a deluge of rain powerful enough to trigger flood warnings for Tahoe and Yosemite, a waterfall hike seemed optimal. Paired with snowmelt from March storms, the American River was nearly flooding on the drive up from Sacramento. The highway was thankfully unaffected. There were multiple waterfalls active along the drive up, ranging from Bridal Veil Falls (El Dorado) to rushing redwood streams.

This rain managed to wash away a good portion of the snow below 8,000 feet. On the Pyramid Creek Trail, there were intermittent patches of snow between long sections of granite rock. At this point in the season, snowshoeing isn't an option, crampons won't do much, and hiking poles aren't required. However, the route up to Horsetail Falls in the latter third section of the hike isn't established, as snow covered the path for most of the season. We turned around before the waterfall due to both flooding and weather.

On 4/7, the water level was high enough to flood sections of forest and force us off the trail. The Cascades were incredible; the sheer force of the water was the greatest I've seen in Tahoe. Leading up to Horsetail Falls, the redwood forest was flooded by a seasonal stream pouring down from Peak 8141. Some route finding and stream crossings were required. This shouldn't be an issue in the summer months, but waterproof boots are always prudent.

For photography, there are four points of interest: the bend of highway 50 (rocky waterfall), Cascade Viewpoint, Desolation Wilderness Boundary (small waterfalls), and Horsetail Falls itself. Long exposure opportunities are prevalent and decent, while the immediate surroundings aren't as photogenic (still beautiful to the naked eye)!

Fantastic views over Lake Tahoe.

Have hiked this a couple of times; went today and it is totally snowed in so snow shoes are a must. Last time I hiked it in the snow it was Spring Time so just enough melted off to where it was passable in hiking boots. Be prepared for a weird parking situation until the trail officially opens!

hiking
1 month ago

beautiful views, got a little warm in February! Love the calming sound of the falls.

hiking
1 month ago

I will admit, we didn’t get the ascend part right, we were sort of all over the place! But what a great place to get lost. Appropriate hiking boots and an open mind are a must. The whole surroundings look like a painting, it’s so surreal.
Best advice: look for trail markers like stacked rocks, treaded paths and other giveaways because you could be easily deterred every 500 feet or so if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. The nice thing is, because you’re in a bowl like setting, you know which way is back to the start.
What a reward, though, when the waterfall is at full blast! Amazing experience and highly recommended.

Completed on 2/18/18. Used microspikes for a little more than half of the hike, snowshoes for about the last quarter mile. Saw many people without spikes or snowshoes that were hiking so doable just harder. Great views at the top.

hiking
2 months ago

Short steep walk with a great view at the top! It’s a paved trail that allows dogs. You can see the lake the whole time. Beautiful!

Beautiful views! But the trail is fairly easy to lose.

hiking
2 months ago

This was beautiful hike but I sure wish I had done it in spring. There was alot of snow and we kept losing the trail. We are experienced hikers and to so often lose the trail was frustrating. we had to keep pulling out the GPS.
The falls were amazing and parts of the hike was challenging for sure a good workout and breath taking views. strange it was right off the freeway. will do this one again with no snow.

Absolutely amazing❣️
One of my favorite local trails.

wonderful views

Absolutely stunning views. Hiked this 1/6/18, there's snow past granite lake and the last 1/4 is about 1' deep. It was worth it.

Breathtaking view, a must one to hike!

Great hike, saw lots of families on the trail. Saw even more dogs. Beautiful view from the overlook.

Beautiful views, short steep climb up, loop with view points , many people with dogs on leashes

Be prepared. Icy in spots but lots of snow at top.

hiking
3 months ago

Go just before sunset for breathtaking views!

Great trail! There was lots of snow and beautiful views!

hiking
4 months ago

Easy hike if you have the appropriate footwear. Went in Dec and lots of the rocks were icy, a few other visitors turned back before they reached the falls. Short beautiful hike with views of Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe.

Easy and quick. Great views at the top.

hiking
4 months ago

Make sure you have a good pair of hiking shoes. You will have to climb through the rocks at some point.

Easy trail, good for kids

Beautiful trail! The lake on the way to the top is great and there are a lot of early vistas to keep you interested. In late November there was a significant amount of snow as you move past the lake and towards the top though so definitely wear hiking boots and start earlier than us (1pm) if you’re trying to go to the top.

backpacking
5 months ago

Great hike, and some climbing at the top of the falls. I've enjoyed going up Horsetail Falls to Pyramid Peak. The trail head is a little funky, staying by the water will help you stay on trail..

hiking
5 months ago

Great bang for your buck. Pretty easy walk, comes out to a beautiful waterfall overlooking some lakes

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