Explore the most popular birding trails in El Dorado National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I never grow tired of this hike! we hiked two days ago, got caught in a bit of hail and rain but the falls were incredible and it was still a wonderful day.

Not great for hiking as you get further on the trail. It is overrun by poison oak and blackberry bushes. We were not able to complete the hike even though we wanted to. Bummer since we drove all the way from Sacramento.

The trail isn’t so much of a trail as a random area to explore. From the parking lot to the wilderness entrance is pretty straight forward. After that it’s a bit of a free for all. I ended up off trail a few times on the way out, and ignored it completely on the way back. I stopped before reaching the base as there was no one in sight and I had difficulty figuring out where to hike that wasn’t full of brush. Gorgeous views out there, but maybe bring a pair of pants if you wander off trail (wherever that dang thing was). Maybe next time I’ll figure it out and make it to the top. Recommend a hiking buddy due to the lose rock and granite climbing that can get dicey.

The prettiest waterfall I’ve ever seen. The further you I go the harder It gets, so worth every step. Got super close to the top.

Absolutely stunning. Our favorite hike so far!

I took my two boys 8 and 12, the trail was a perfect Adventure. we just mosied along took our time, made sure to look at all our beautiful surroundings and sure enough we came to the Majestic spot. we sat down and had lunch. It was a wonderful hike!

Trail conditions: 5/13/18

Trail is wet and sloppy from melt off with patches of snow below 7,700 ft (full coverage above). There are also a few downed trees blocking the trail.

0-3 miles: Wet and sloppy, with some small patches of snow.
3-4 miles: Larger patches of snow. Easy to lose trail if not paying attention.
4.5 miles: Trail completely covered by snow.

Overall the trail to Sylvia is doable, but the last 2 miles are slow going. Also, make sure to wear waterproof boots!

What an adventure! This was one of those days that I wouldn't mind living again! My heart is so full from this experience! Definitely feeling blessed today!

Gorgeous, yet very easy hike

Enjoyed this trail. Waterfall looks great right now. Very enjoyable walk for beginners.

Snow starts at mile 2.5 . Beautiful view at the peak as always! Ralston Lake still covered with snow.

9 days ago

Beautiful right now! Easy trail, no snow. if you dont want to encounter a lot of people go during the week!

10 days ago

Beautiful short hike and the end destination is an amazing lunch spot! Took me around 1.5 hours round trip. I had a hard time finding the trail head because the gravel road has a tons of "no motor vehicles" signs so I ended up walking up that road. Saw a a few cars drove in...next time.

Great hike. Snow for about 1/4 of the trip near the summit. Great views!

15 days ago

Did this hike today. Still lots of snow near the top which makes it a bigger challenge. It was warm for the first half but once you hit the snow we also were smacked with pretty windy conditions. I would prefer it later in the summer when the snow melts but for those looking for a more difficult hike, this could be it.

15 days ago

Trail (though poorly marked) finds its way to a gorgeous view of southern Lake Tahoe and the falls. I can imagine that during the summer months, the trail can be brutal without much shade.

15 days ago

Bassi Fall was a very nice hike. Beautiful fall and views and not very strenuous. Great time to go.

Moderate grade, a Little Rock scrambling towards the end. Grabbed a seat up top and picnicked with the waterfall. As others have said, trail is poorly marked which is surprising for the amount of traffic it gets! Saw lots of dogs. Only wildlife we saw was some blue jays and one lizard. Easy afternoon hike, would do again.

16 days ago

Hiked this trail late April. Still quite a bit of snow on the ground as the trail is mostly on a north facing slope. Trail was a little hard to follow in the snow. It was a gorgeous day and the view from the leap was amazing! Crystal clear day!

Great short hike with amazing waterfall and pools at the end.

22 days ago

Did this trail today with my friends. Steady climb for sure Still a lot of snow Top was very cold but worth the view Good day on Mount Ralston

Packed my snowshoes just because and was glad I did. Still enough snow covering the trail to make it more challenging. Cold and windy at the top with no place to hide. Coming down was fun, the snow was melting a bit and it mage for some slippery going. Love this hike, worth the effort.

23 days ago

23 days ago

Great run today, no crampons, top third solid snow stayed hard till about 10.. harder run than no snow for sure,

23 days ago

Bassi falls is beautiful right now and the view from the top is pretty incredible too.

This trail was a lot of fun, though easily lost at times. It's well trafficked, so if you aren't sure where the trail continues along one of the large granite slabs, it's worth the time to look around, as people may head toward you, or you will be able to see the trail as it leaves the slab. The upper reaches get pretty steep, so good shoes are a must. Bring lunch, and eat it in the mist of the falls for a refreshing break before heading back.

26 days ago


28 days ago


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.

29 days ago

The difficulty/reward ratio on this trail is in favor of hikers who want to complete one of their first summits and boast, "so yeah, this weekend I climbed a mountain... No biggie." At 6.5 miles total, it is brief and perfect for a day hike. Make no mistake, however, it isn't a walk in the park the whole way up. Your legs will get a work out.

Shortly after the trailhead, which is located at a parking lot along I-50 that is often not plowed between Dec-Mar, a series of switchbacks zigzagging their way through a densely forested area begin. This goes on quite a bit, and takes up a significant portion of the hike. Those who want spectacular views - fear not! - as the views begin once you get in the clearer area at a higher elevation where less vegetation grows. It will start to get steep and you may be wishing for those gentle switchbacks you were on recently.

Speaking of vegetation, near the summit you will pass contorted and twisted trees known as "Krumholtz", German for "crooked wood". Looking like something out of a Guillermo del Doro film, these deformed trees live a tough life due to incessant wind and snow. Soak in the views of Lake Tahoe, various other alpine lakes including Aloha Lake, Mt Tallac in the distance, from the summit.

Bonus: at your own risk, on the right side of the summit, there is a Class 3 scramble on extremely loose rocks and climb that can get you to one of the lakes.

Load More