Explore Within 4 hours of Fairfield - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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walking
3 days ago

Great view of the river, and especially nice when the wildflowers are blooming in the spring and the river runs turquoise.

hiking
5 days ago

Really nice trail. Such a cute town of wonderful characters (mostly dogs). We had a trail guide named Penny who took us all the way down coming back often to make sure she had all of us, barking to let us know there was still more trail ahead. She was so very good at her self appointed job. This trail follows a very narrow trail down the side of the canyon. it is over 2 miles down which of course is two miles back up. beautiful views and lovely waterfalls. lots and lots of poison oak and we pick a couple of ticks off us. Nothing was so bad we didnt like it. Our dogs love being off leash and the seclusion is always nice. We all really enjoyed the hike but we were all very tired after the hike back up. the drive is steep and slow going out it in a low gear and stay off the brakes the hike is worth it.

on Bassi Falls

hiking
10 days ago

Great hike, even with the younger kiddos. Still quite a bit of snow on the ground, but in patches. The falls were amazing. So happy we made it out there.

hiking
11 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)!

nature trips
21 days ago

It’s especially pretty in spring but it is also busy! Easy and fun for kids. There is a spot to stop and play in the stream that is safe and lots of critters in it for kids to check out.

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!

walking
26 days ago

very nice wide trail. easy walk.. excellent views of river.. wild flowers lots of butterflies.. dog friendly.. nice waterfall surprise. 5 dollars to park

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.

1 month ago

I love this hike! although we went yesterday and all I can say is bring your snowshoes! guess we've got wait a couple of months to enjoy again.

hiking
1 month ago

Mountain miles are not as a crow flies. 8 miles to Iowa hill is 20 minutes min. driving 25 mph and 10mph around the sharp switchbacks. The town is very intimate with its residence being more dogs than people you are greeted with tail wags not hand waves. (not joking) Also this towns mayor is infact a dog.

THE TRAIL HEAD: LOCATED behind the market and is clearly marked with a large sign. Most likely you will be greeted by dogs and they will guide you down the hill to the river. (Penny is the Australian Shepard, Moose is the sweet Lab)

DANGERS: poison oak everywhere (public land). SPRING do not pet the dogs they roll in poison oak.. This is common sense... part of the trail has collapsed but nothing you can't overcome. If you have a fear of heights the trail is basically a cliff edge.

very decent, not so steep hike. awesome forest. took us 4 hours

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

Didn't quite make it to he trail unfortunately, the road in is 8.5 miles, very windy, narrow and downhill. I drive a 2005 Honda Civic, after about 2.5 miles my brakes were cooked. Just had them done so that shouldn't have happened. I also had to pass a Jeep on a very narrow part with a shear cliff on the right on me (no guard rails). Didn't feel very comfortable after that. Ended up turning around and going to a different trail. I'd recommend having a vehicle with really good brakes. Not the best road for big vehicles. Be safe!

hiking
2 months ago

Loved this hike! Pretty easy but a great hike. lots of different terrains. The falls are fabulous!

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Wow! What an interesting trail!! We loved all of the amazing sights and that it was secluded! Our dog was able to be off leash, and we had a great time! To start, getting to this trail is what I felt to be treacherous. It took 30 minutes to go 8.5 miles uphill to reach the trail. The roads are extremely windy and it felt a little dangerous in some parts (I drive a large SUV). We knew we reached the area once we saw the little local store, Iowa Hill Store. We parked, and the trailhead was right behind the store. It's a downhill hike most of the way (and we didn't make it the entire way). There was SO MUCH to see! We walked through a beautiful waterfall area, saw the gorgeous clear blue river below, and it felt like we were in a fantasy land with all of the trees, moss, mushrooms, and narrow trails! Multiple scenary types throughout the hike, which is what made it so spectacular! Others mentioned poison oak in the beginning of the trail, which I did spot, so THANK YOU! The hike back was a great work-out on the legs. The only thing that we didn't like about the trail, is that it very shaded - so it was dark and wet through most of our hike. Not usually a big deal, but we went on a sunny day, hoping to catch plenty of sunrays, and that definitely did not happen. Overall though - REALLY fun trail! I'd go again when it's warmer out so I can make it to the bottom and swim with my pup!

hiking
2 months ago

There is no access to the parking lot until April so park on the side of Ice House Rd. and walk the rest of the way up to the trail access. A friend and I did this hike on Wednesday morning/afternoon in January and we did not encounter any other hikers along the way. It is really easy to get lost but there are trail markers on the trees on the way up. However, there are not as many trail markers on the way back so I highly recommend downloading the offline map. Easy hike with gorgeous views. will be back in the summer for a swim.

hiking
2 months ago

Had a fun day hike here last weekend. Cool little 'market' at the trailhead (yes, the trail begins behind the market). Keep a heads up for poison oak at the beginning of the trail. We ALMOST finished it and made it to the water, but a part of the trail was washed out. Without dogs we could have just done some quick bouldering to get around it to the other side, but that was a no go with the hounds. Didn't bump into anybody on the path. Some great views and even a bench halfway (?) in that overlooks the river where we got to watch some kayakers head down. I mean... There was a bench... So we had to sit, right? :) mostly decline on the way out. Cross a few small creeks... Dogs loved it. If you go when it's skeeter season, definitely bring some spray or just long sleeve up.

9.6 mike loop. Awesome trail.

hiking
3 months ago

We were able to find the start of the trail fairly easily; however, we got lost trying to stay on the trail. About half a mile to a mile in we somehow ended up walking into someone’s backyard and ended up back at the Iowa road. We never finished the trail.

When we headed back down to I-80 fwy, the road closed. The fire rescue had to pull out two cars that drove off into the embankment. Just a warning to those that plan to hike this trail... to get to the trailhead after the Colfax exit, you’ll have to drive down a windy 8mile narrow road made up mainly one ways. You’ll only be able to drive less than 25mph on this road if you don’t want to end up like those two cars. Be safe and good luck on this trail.

Great hike. Just be prepared that parts of the trail aren’t clearly marked, so using GPS can be very helpful.

walking
3 months ago

This trail was beautiful. You can take a short cut to get to the main trail, but I highly suggest you hike it from the trail marker. When you first drive up to the trail there is a very small parking lot (if you start your hike on the trail at that parking area, that’s the short cut). Off to the right there is a road that continues down the park. The real trail marker starts down that road. You can’t miss the sign.

Short easy flat hike. Very well maintained. Lots of pinecones on the trail right now. Interpretative signs were interesting. The marsh was iced over, which was cool to see, and there is a tiny bit of snow on the ground in the shady areas.

Easy trail and loads of great views

hiking
3 months ago

This trail was great! It has beautiful views and it was fun climbing through the rocks at the end. Very little snow and only saw three groups of other hikers. Spent most the hike in solitude.

Enjoyed Penny the local guide dog who lead the way and made sure we were okay on our hike. It was a beautiful hike. There was one spot that you had to climb over a rock because the trail collapsed. We went in December so we weren't able to get down to the river at the end of the trail because the rocks were slippery. The water was beautiful and clear. Coming back in the summer to swim

hiking
4 months ago

It's a moderate trail with a lot of gorgeous views. It ends up near a quite good swimming spot, so you can enjoy swimming in the clear water if the weather allows to do this. We went in December, so, unfortunately, didn't swim. Even though the way back is almost constantly uphill, it's not steep. So, overall trail is not difficult. Two very friendly local dogs accompanied us during all our way and made our hike even more fun. Highly recommend this trai.

4 months ago

Very easy 2 mile stroll from the parking area. Minimal elevation gain/loss. Waterfall was quite full; there’s actually a smaller but still impressive fall about 2/3 of the way.

You can scramble up the side of the falls to get to the top with lovely views. I can see this area being quite popular in the summer, but as of this writing there were only about a dozen or so people on the trail and no snow yet.

As others have noted, there are places where the trail is easily lost, but if you’ve downloaded the map for offline use you can easily find your way again. There’s actually a pair of cell towers at the top of a nearby ridge; from the top of the falls I had a clear line of sight and nearly full bars on my mobile!

Lots of nearby lakes/reservoirs to explore. Happy trails!

backpacking
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..

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