Horsetail Falls Trail

MODERATE 341 reviews
#2 of 76 trails in

Horsetail Falls Trail is a 3.3 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 and walking and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
675 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

muddy

rocky

A short hike gets you up close with this spectacular Tahoe waterfall. Late spring and early summer may be the best times to experience Horsetail Falls, but a hike up the Pyramid Creek trail to this spectacular waterfall is still a worthwhile experience at any time of the year. If you can find a parking spot at the busy US50 trailhead that is.

hiking
6 hours ago

7 hours ago

Beautiful views of the falls. It took a bit longer than expected due to difficult trail markings but that was part of the charm.

hiking
1 day ago

It's the most beautiful place on earth

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
1 day ago

hiking
3 days ago

Although it was incredibly hard to find the trail, it was an amazing adventure. You can hike along the river or all over the granite. Such a beautiful waterfall at the end of a hard hike.

hiking
3 days ago

Went on 7/16/17 with my fiancé and our dog. We got a late start from Sacramento and ended up hiking the trail from around 1:30 to 4pm. We were worried that it would be too hot for Leopold, the dog, but there were multiple places for him to splash around and cool off, and lots of shade after the first set of rapids.

Parking: The parking area is clearly marked, on the left side if you're coming from Sacramento. It was exactly 2 miles after the town of Strawberry (thanks to another user for pointing that out!). We were able to find a spot, but the parking lot is pretty busy. Many folks were parked on the road near the lot. If you're going to park in the parking lot, make sure to bring exactly $5 because you have to pay using an envelope/self-serve dropbox. There are bathrooms at the parking lot, but they definitely needed a lot of cleaning.

Trail: We started the trail by going straight past the bathrooms. When you hike up the very first little hill/rocky area and it starts to get flat, stay to the right of the big tree that has a large burn mark. You'll see a pipeline and the creek, follow that around to the left to start the hike. We got a little lost here and followed another hiker. We ended up taking the Wilderness Boundary Trail, which was not well marked, as others have said. It was much easier to find the trail on the way back. 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. We made the mistake of following some cairns up the mountainside, which was not the right path. We had to come back down because it started to get too precarious. I will also note that if you're closer to the water, there is a lot more shade! Once you get close to the top of the waterfall, there seem to be many possible ways to go.

Difficulty: Speaking only for the Wilderness Boundary Trail, we would rate the hike between moderate and difficult. We slipped in a few areas, there was a lot of steep rock traversing, and we had to cross a few small creek areas on wobbly logs. The hike to the first rapids (about a mile) was much easier than the following portion to the falls view (about half a mile).

Thoughts: The hike had great reviews throughout. There were a few good places to stop and let the dog splash around, without worrying he'd get swept downstream. The top area of the falls was a great conclusion to a harder hike. It was beautiful and cool from all of the water spray.

Rating: Four stars due to difficulty of finding the trail in many places, but overall great hike!

hiking
3 days ago

This is a great place... not sure why it took me so long to come and see it!

hiking
3 days ago

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4 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

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5 days ago

7 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
9 days ago

This is a very pretty, popular hike. And, it's dog friendly! We got one of the last parking spots in the lot at 8:30 am on a Sunday (7/2/17). The trail is not well marked, as others have said. However, there are enough people that it's not too bad. Just generally stay to the left of the river. Many people seemed to stop at the first rapids; traffic lightened a lot past there. We only went about a quarter mile past the point where you enter the wilderness due to time; some other hikers told us the trail was washed out further ahead and required going up on the ridge to reach the falls.

hiking
9 days ago

Hiked on: 7/9/17 We arrive at the trailhead at 11:30am and found a big group leaving, so we were able to get parking in the lot, but there are lots of cars on the side of the freeway too for those not so lucky. It took about an hour to get to the bottom of the falls, including stops to check out the water from the creek and for photos. From the reviews, I expected to have a harder time finding the way to the falls, but it was not that difficult. We probably went "off trail" once or twice only. It was a pretty and short hike. There is almost no shade cover and it is hot in the summer, so bring a hat and sunscreen. We did not climb up to the top of the falls since we had a late start and could not take much more of the heat. There's lots of rock climbing, so we did wear proper boots, but of course we saw people with all kinds of footwear. My 7-year-old had no problems.

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

The trail was well-marked up until reaching Desolation Wilderness. Scrambled up and down boulders, with some tricky log/stream traverses as well. As a solo hiker in pretty good shape, I managed reasonably well, but was offered a hand or two by kind strangers in a couple more challenging spots. I would definitely do this hike again-- the views are amazing!-- but I would bring a hiking partner.