Horsetail Falls Trail

MODERATE 474 reviews
#1 of 69 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, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

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

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

muddy

rocky

scramble

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.

4 days ago

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

hiking
19 days 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.

21 days ago

Absolutely amazing❣️
One of my favorite local trails.

backpacking
3 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..

hiking
3 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.

3 months ago

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

hiking
3 months ago

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

3 months ago

Amazing

hiking
4 months ago

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

hiking
4 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.

4 months ago

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.

hiking
4 months ago

The falls colors are in full effect, just amazing

4 months ago

It's beautiful love it it's a very difficult hike when you get to the top ...

hiking
4 months ago

Not well marked, but that was part of the fun! Just keep the river to your right and head upstream. Get friendly with your favorite GPS app if you're nervous, or just enjoy clambering over big rocks until you spot the trail again. Would be fun to take older kids as an orienteering exercise.

hiking
4 months ago

Not well marked. Doable with kids if they can handle climbing over steep rocks.

4 months ago

It was an awesome hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Incredible views, awesome hike! Some areas get a bit challenging, but not too difficult.

hiking
4 months ago

Great day hike!

hiking
4 months ago

Excellent hike! But let's talk seriously... this is only a easy to moderate hike to the BASE of the falls. Excellent with kids & dogs... but after that you are climbing rocks!
This is very strenuous to the top! Had lunch at the lake at top! Absolutely breathtaking!! Worth it.., just be careful on way down. Slow & easy...

hiking
5 months ago

This "trail" was beautiful but I felt that the trail was a little too intense. The lack of an actual trail made it difficult and I felt bad for those people who had kids as there was a lot of back and forth trying to find a way through. Make sure the wear good shoes with grip as many of us were sliding on some of the granite rocks as we tried to climb up or down them.

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