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Horsetail Falls

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (24) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A lovely but challenging route to a stunning waterfall that is most impressive in the spring.


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Map Key

3.3

Miles

5.4

KM

Out and Back

6,785' 2,068 m

High

6,116' 1,864 m

Low

682' 208 m

Up

682' 208 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Leashed

Features River/Creek · Waterfall

Family Friendly While the full journey might be a bit long for younger kids, older children will love getting up close to a beautiful waterfall.

Overview

At the right time of year, when the runoff from snowmelt is near its peak, this hike can be absolutely remarkable. The destination is the waterfall, but the scenery along the creek on the way up is great the whole way.

Description

Parking for this trail is located at the easy-to-find Pyramid Creek Trailhead. The trailhead can be busy, but there are running water and flush toilets here. A nice way to tackle this route is to start with the well-marked Pyramid Creek Loop Trail, and you'll head towards the creek. Families can stick to this loop and enjoy a mini version of Horsetail Falls along the way, without having to worry about anything too strenuous if you have youngsters who can make the full hike.

For the full journey up to the falls, take the Pyramid Creek Trail that branches off towards the Wilderness Boundary. On this section, you'll scramble a bit over granite, and you might feel like you've lost your way at times, but essentially, you'll be headed straight up towards the falls, with the creek on your right. When you get to the falls, it's possible to continue beyond the end of the marked trail, but don't attempt this unless you're a skilled backcountry hiker. It's slippery and potentially quite dangerous towards the top of the falls.

Play around for a bit, then continue back the way you came. You can take either route back down when you get to the junction with the Pyramid Creek Loop Trail, as both branches will return you to the trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Michael Ahnemann with improvements by Tony T

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 24 votes

#360

Overall
  4.5 from 24 votes
5 Star
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4 Star
42%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
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1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#59

in California

#360

Overall
218 Views Last Month
12,107 Since Aug 9, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Stream crossings during extremely high water level period. Waterfall flowed down from Peak 8417 and flooded forest.
Apr 8, 2018 near South L…, CA
Horsetail Falls.
Sep 2, 2016 near South L…, CA
Flooded forest after significant warm rainfall, below the Cascade Viewpoint and above Highway 50
Apr 8, 2018 near South L…, CA
Spring time at the Pyramid Creek, when the waterfalls are in their prime.
May 5, 2019 near South L…, CA
Cascade Viewpoint during flooding period. Looking out towards Lover's Leap and Western Sierra.
Apr 8, 2018 near South L…, CA
Pyramid Creek.
Sep 2, 2016 near South L…, CA

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Check-Ins

May 10, 2020
Derek Scoot
Getting crowded 3.3mi — 3h 00m
Oct 12, 2019
Marc Daniel
Avec lulu et Paul. On connecte vers Aloha et vers Lily lake — 9h 10m
Oct 12, 2019
Lucie Daniel
avec papa et polo
Sep 14, 2019
Cynthia Duran
Jul 23, 2019
Jeff Grissom
May 11, 2019
Caitlin P
My favorite waterfall in Tahoe atm 3.3mi
Mar 3, 2019
Jeremiah K
Jan 3, 2019
Dan Merson
To wilderness boundary and back.