Horsetail Falls Trail

MODERATE 1017 reviews
#1 of 90 trails in

Horsetail Falls Trail is a 3.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Twin Bridges, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 3.1 miles Elevation Gain: 639 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

fee

Please note: some users have reported that the parking lot is often closed in winter. Only the first mile is easily accessible as there is very steep exposed terrain after the falls. The Horsetail falls hike is a short hike with great views that gets you up close with this spectacular South Lake Tahoe waterfall. The hike starts at Twin Bridges Trailhead off of Highway 50 just past Strawberry. There is a $5.00 fee to park in the parking area at Twin Bridges. From the trailhead, you will follow Pyramid Creek Trail into Desolation Wilderness so a wilderness permit from the ranger station is required. The hike starts out moderate but quickly picks up elevation as you enter Desolation Wilderness and the Wilderness Boundary Trail. The last half mile of the hike can be difficult, as there is granite rock and boulders that require rock climbing and the trail is not well marked and hard to follow. Once you reach the first rapids/falls area there is a sign. The trail picks back up directly to the left of the sign. If in doubt after this point, stay closer to the water. Once at the falls, you have the option to continue on, however proceed with caution as there are slippery rocks Late spring and early summer may be the best times to experience Horsetail Falls, as the water flow is heaviest. However a hike up the Pyramid Creek trail to this spectacular waterfall is still a worthwhile experience at any time of the year.

hiking
5 minutes ago

Hard hike to get to the top. Very windy.

hiking
bugs
no shade
off trail
rocky
1 day ago

We had trouble finding horsetail creek trailhead, ended up at pyramid trail.

hiking
rocky
2 days ago

Definitely easier to find the trail down than the trail up. Well worth the effort!

hiking
rocky
scramble
8 days ago

Amazing weather today! Parking lot was closed so had to park across street and walk over. Headed up to Pitt Lake to relax. Not too many people out today.

hiking
9 days ago

Parking lot is closed so you have to park along the highway. Not very well marked. Beautiful scenery and a nice out and back. Some rocky areas so wearing boots is probably essential for a happy hike.

hiking
rocky
15 days ago

A little windy today but overall an awesome hike!

hiking
off trail
rocky
17 days ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
20 days ago

The trail is not well marked. Once you get out of the woods area and you see the massive granite incline, you'll see a sign that says trail to the right. The trail IS to the right but just past the trees next to the sign the trail goes straight up to the left. If you turn left at that tree and stay in a straight line you'll eventually see a trail off to the left. Some of it is wooded. At one point you have to walk across some logs running up stream. The top of the trail is walking up a run off that is just a bunch of boulders. Ultimately, if you follow the stream you cant miss it. Beautiful rugged hike. Walking sticks and good grip shoes highly recommended.

hiking
rocky
scramble
20 days ago

The falls are absolutely gorgeous, but getting there can be a challenge. The trail is not marked very well, so you’ll need to use the map quite a bit. To actually get to the top of the falls is not for the faint of heart. It’s more rock climbing than trail hiking. Good shoes are a must. All and all, a decent hike (round trip was about 3-3 1/2 hrs).

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
28 days ago

hiking
no shade
off trail
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
off trail
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Fun hike along the stream. Markings clear on partial trail; some “choose your own adventure” portions over big boulders. Shoes with good grip needed for the last 0.5 mile out to the falls.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Trail is great, spectacular views, a little closer to Sacramento than Tahoe proper. Trail is in good shape but not marked especially well. Just know that you have to wrap around the right side of the giant granite slab near the bottom of the hike and then scramble up some rocky portions to get to the falls. We took a 10-year-old dog and...well...we could practically hear her muttering “I’m too old for this @$#%!” Watch your footing near the falls and enjoy the view!!

hiking
1 month ago

Always a great hike in and out. Beautiful weather this time of year. There's really no way you can get lost.

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