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Horsetail Falls Trail

MODERATE 765 reviews
#1 of 87 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, walking, 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

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
rocky
3 days ago

hiking
7 days ago

Wonderful views of falls and stream, surrounding canyon and valley; lots of fun if you like scrambling over rock. Moderate if taken at a gentle pace. Trail is very easy to lose but terrain is pretty legible and trees far enough apart so one can navigate reasonably well even if off trail.

hiking
8 days ago

Beautiful hike. Hard to follow trail at some points but lovely spots to stop along the way to enjoy the water. Wear good shoes as there is climbing on rock. Totally worth it!

hiking
rocky
8 days ago

Awesome hike... easy hike, some areas have a lot of rock. Kind of easy to get off trail, recommend following the all tails map to stay on course. Highly recommend going past the hikes end all the way to the falls. Well worth the extra 1/2 mile.

hiking
9 days ago

Amazing hike to the main falls, with views of smaller falls and side canyon falls that are pretty awesome too.

hiking
rocky
9 days ago

Took me and my girlfriend 2 hours to get up with 7 times of 5 minutes rest in between. the jog down took 1 hour. The fall was beautiful, but the trail was lack of sign. Also making sure to memorize your trail once you head down to the waterfall. the trail was not well marked, and very narrow through the trees, you can be potentially lost finding your way back. Also there were a lot of horse feces due to this trail also share with horseback riders. overall, it was a fun hike, deserved the moderate level of difficulty.

hiking
11 days ago

Hard to find the trail but easy to find your way around.

hiking
rocky
12 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

I would almost say this trail was more hard than moderate. Still worth every step! Waterfall was amazing as well as the other ones along the way. No actual trail so you just make your way. In the beginning you’ll see the loop trail sign and can go straight up from there or go right and walk more towards the water to the big falls. I walked as close to water as I could because it was awesome to look at the whole way. LOTS of people. I got to the parking lot at 8:30, plenty of parking but it was filling up fast. $5 cash or check fee for parking. Around 9:30, you couldn’t get away from people. Go super early if you want to miss that.

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked this trail July 2018 , beautiful walked along the water , moderate to hard towards the end, breathtaking views of the water fall & mountains .

hiking
17 days ago

Mildly strenuous with a lot of scrambling but not bad at all. Views of the falls are definitely worth it. No real trail as you near the falls but stick near the water and head towards the falls, really not bad at all.

Difficult hike with natural obstacles that lead to an amazing waterfall

hiking
rocky
18 days ago

hiking
off trail
20 days ago

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
snow
24 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

Difficult to find the trail so as long as you keep moving towards the falls you’ll be ok. We hiked along the water as much as we could because it was so beautiful. The hike gets pretty intense the higher you get. Waterfalls are flowing because of snow melt. Would love to make it all the way to the top one day, but may not be an experienced enough hiker, as it looks like very steep rock scaling is required to get up there.

hiking
1 month ago

Trail is hard to stay on, but it is easy to keep moving in the right direction. Since the ice is still melting the water has washed out parts of the trail, but it is still possible to find alternate routes to stay dry. Stunning views, well worth the hike. Lots of dogs on the hike.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Great hike! I had no idea where I was going but following the map on this app got me where I needed to go. Lots of climbing but it was worth it.

1 month ago

excellent trail to hike! started off early and there wasn't much activity on the trail. made it to the falls in a leisurely hour and a half. spectacular views from the top. got off the trail a couple times, ran into several people that had done the same thing. trail poorly marked in some areas. with some serious searching and this fantastic app it made relocating the trail a breeze. hard on dog paws if you bring dogs. a couple spots for rivers by fallen trees, some steadier than others. waterproof shoes recommended but not necessary.

hiking
1 month ago

Stunning. Brought a 14 year old and 9 year old. They loved it!

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
1 month ago

Started at 8 a.m. and made it up to Avalanche Lake and set up my hammock and relaxed for an hour or so. There is still a decent amount of snow making any trips past Avalanche very adventurous just for the melting snow factor. I'm not a huge fan of broken ankles so I stayed put and enjoyed the beauty of the lake. Was a bit chilly when the winds picked up but overall got a nice nap in before heading back down the falls around 11:30. Met a cool group of folks and guided them up the tricky section of the trail and to the boulder section near the top. The trail was alive with people today and the parking lot was completely full when I got back to my car. It certainly was a perfect day to head up early and enjoy the serenity of Desolation Wilderness. The water is still raging and beautiful! It's only going to get better as all of the snow melts.

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

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