Explore Need to Hike - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Need to Hike Map
12 days 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.

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

1 month 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.

1 month ago

A little too manicured for our taste but a really lovely wooded walk. We took an off shoot down to the creek that was two miles round trip and that was a good workout. all in all a nice day.

Was a beautiful hike. Wish I would have done this hike early morning around 8am. There are great views and amazing caves. Took around 5hours to complete.

Absolutely amazing❣️
One of my favorite local trails.

This hike included some spectacular views including pinnacles, caves, waterfalls, cliffs, a reservoir, and wildlife. I advise going early in the morning because this hike took us about 5.5 hours with many stops for pictures and a lunch break. You need to bring flashlight or headlamps for the caves, it’s pitch black in there. The end of the hike on “High Peaks Trail” was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Just remember to wear very supportive shoes with a lot of traction.

2 months ago

Great hike / snowshoe if you're up for an adventure and don't mind route finding to make it happen. The views of the SIerras from the top are impressive as are those of the adjacent peaks / ridge lines which look incredible in snow. Little tricky to follow the established route and it differs a bit from what you'll see in most maps currently.

Current conditions: Snow starts a few hundred feet into the trail and becomes consistent around 1,500' up. The final climb was partially covered and required careful attention to avoid postholing around the rocks -- descended down the backside for deeper snow. Slopes were pretty solid in the morning (just shy of needing to put on traction) but soft by noon for turns or snowshoes.

Route: Park right past the highway sign a few minutes outside Strawberry (*may not be acceptable with snow on the road*) and walk up a few hundred yards to reach the "trailhead" which is little more than a footpath in the dirt. Take note of where you cross the stream as it's tricky to track on the return.

2 months ago

12/29/17- Solo hiked this route at 7am and finished by 12pm. I clocked 7.4miles RT with 4,200ft gain. The route was clear of snow up to mile 1.4~, then you hit thin hard pack. Snow was fairly hard pack up to the summit. Follow the cairns the whole way. Only wore boots w/gaiters, thermal top, beanie, soft shell pants and thin gloves. Used poles for the gain/lose.

The first 3.2 miles are the toughest. The following 4.7mi are a slight breeze except there’s a steep draw though, I’d say about 3.4mi of that 4.7 in with a 9-10% grade for about a 1/4 mi going down. I started at 6:30am and made it back by 4:15pm. You shouldn’t take any breaks longer than 2 minutes a piece and take as many as 20. If you’re an amateur hiker, bring lots of water and food. The last 2 miles towards El Capitan are not as well marked due to the fact that you’re basically on rock but just look for the small man made rock piles and you’ll be fine. The view is breathtaking. Though I didn’t find a geo marker, it was well worth the work.

3 months ago

Great hike! Not difficult. Combined it with the caves for a nice loop from the campground.

4 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..

Lots of great views, awesome trail through caves and narrow passages. There's a waterfall with stairs inside of the Canyon, in the heat of the summer it's nice and cool there. There are some toads in the waterways butter on the endangered species list. It's a really great place to enjoy with the family. There's tent camping, RV parking; along with a general store.

4 months ago

Fun hike with beautiful views but the trail was hard to follow. Not very well marked. It was an adventure! We had a great time.

Trail head can be hard to find at times but just follow the river and scramble up to the top!

4 months ago

Great hike

4 months ago

Not really sure why this says 10 miles, the map that I have marks it a little over 6 miles to the lake.
This was definitely a beautiful adventure! My friend and I chose this trail for our first backpacking trip and besides us not being correctly prepared, this was the perfect choice!
We started at 1030 and didn't make camp till 1700! Those backpacks really slow you down! The last mile, we walked through ankle deep mud and thought it was never going to end! Luckily, we made it, made camp, froze, and ended up having to share a tent. Thank goodness we brought emergency blankets haha.
Because of a miserable night of sleep/freezing, we cut our trip short and headed back at 0900 and made it to the car at 1500. We found a much easier way back through the marsh, just hike higher up, farther away from the water. ALSO, the ground was pretty frozen, so that definitely helped.
It was an amazing experience and am currently on the hunt for a better, warmer sleeping bag, so I can do it again soon!
Oh, the trail was pretty dead, but make sure to wear bright colors, there were lots of hunters for deer season.

Did this hike today, highly recommended, love the scenery and caves

Route Description:
Park your car in the Ralston Peak Trail parking lot. We shall return via this path.
Walk on US 50 (away from South Lake Tahoe which is the downhill direction. You will pass the Pyramid Creek Trail head (You can choose to fill up the wilderness permit here).
Keep walking till you hit the Pyramid Peak - Rocky Canyon Trail trail head. There is no trail head here! Its marked as a big rock with faded white paint blotched on it. If you cross a stream then you have missed it. Check on alltrails.com on details on how to spot the trail head.
Scramble up the rocks - about 15 feet and you should be on the trail.
This trail is relatively easy to follow and its a use trail. For the first mile the stream will be on your left. After a mile the trail will cross the stream and then the stream will be on your right. The trail parallels this stream till there is no trace of it. At this point it will follow the lowest point in the topo map (valley) as it progresses upward leaving you to some boulders to traverse. There are cairns here to guide you, if need be. You will then have to scramble up the boulders to get to Pyramid Peak.
There is no trail or signs from this point. You just walk the ridge to the next two peaks - Mount Agassiz and Price Peak. Note that one side might be less sloped than the other. If I remember correctly, the right side had sheer drops, whereas the left side was more gentle. Hence, pick an easier side to traverse it.
After Price Peak, descend down to Mosquito pass which runs between Clyde Lake on the left and Lake Aloha to the right.
Next climb up Jacks Peak and walk the ridge to Dicks Peak.
From Dicks Peak there is a use trail with cairns in boulder areas to guide you to the PCT.
Take the PCT all the way till you hit the Ralston Peak trail.
Take the Ralston Peak trail all the way to the trail head and back to the car.

Note: Roughly 10 miles is off trail and Class 2/Class 3 and hence progress is much slower. Time is well spent in route finding to get on top of the peaks which involve a bit of scrambling.
There is no fee to park at the Ralston Peak trail head. A free wilderness permit is required for the day hike. You can get one at the Pacific Ranger District Ranger station in Pollock Pines. Alternatively you can fill the wilderness permits up in any major trail head. The Ralston Peak trail head is not considered major, as I did not see any place to self issue a wilderness permit. On the other hand, the Pyramid Creek trail head might have them.
Carry gloves for the rock scrambling.

Good hike. You can get right next to the waterfall at the end.


This hike is a BEAST! Lots of incline, and the altitude got to me the last few miles. I would go .2 miles or so and need to stop for a bit and keep going. When I saw the rock at the end I though "oh hell no", but did it anyway and wow. The view is absolutely amazing.

I would recommend not doing this as a day hike. I am in good shape and hike often and it was still very challenging. If you do do it as a day hike though, I would suggest starting at 5:30am or earlier if you want to get down before dark. The camp is about 4/5 miles up the trail (permit needed).

Tough but worth it. Park at the chain control sign and walk up the highway (w/ traffic) about 40 paces and then cross the street and climb up onto the trail. GPS is great to have for this trail, if not, follow the cairns all the way up. FYI, I saw a bear :-)

Loved it!! Great views at the top! Highly recommended. :)

5 months ago

Short in distance but not in time. It is not a defined trail you basically just head up, so you need to be careful to pick good lines otherwise you can get stuck in a sketchy situation. Best to go in groups. I severely sprained my ankle about 5 minutes into our decent and it was the most miserable pain defending the mountain for 3 hours with a sprained ankle and I was alone. But for the few that actually teach the top it is an absolutely breathtaking view. Best to go up early in the morning as it does take about 6 to 7 hours round trip.

5 months ago

Yesterday we again did the round trip from the Twin Bridges lot, down the highway and up the Rocky Cyn trail to the summit, then SE along the ridge and dropped down scree slopes and cross country to descend along Horsetail Falls. 9.3 mile RT in 7 hrs. This is much more varied, interesting and fun than simply going up and down Rocky Cyn. I'm 64 and my bud Jeff Risser is 42. We've done this route in reverse too. One of my favorite hikes !

Best hike in Yosemite from the valley

Hiked this trail twice, hoping to get to the very top next time. Takes about 3hrs there and back with a fast pace walk. Definitely worth reaching the base of the waterfall.

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