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Horsetail Falls

Eldorado National Forest

Eldorado National Forest Links:

October 15th, 1999

3.0 miles
675 vertical feet
Total Time: 1:55

Rating: 6/10

Directions:   View Driving Map


I parked at Twin Bridges, that clearly-visible parking lot off Highway 50 on the way to South Lake Tahoe. There were several cars there before me.

When I started the hike, the sky was perfectly clear. High, thin, wispy clouds crept by as the afternoon wore on.

A hint of fall colors

There are multiple unmarked trails, and sometimes they just disappear, which makes navigating difficult. I followed a sign that said "trail" toward the right. It basically follows Pyramid Creek. I saw just a few signs of fall color (yellowing aspens) along the creek. The creek flows on the eastern side of a broad valley. While trees are prevalent everywhere, the valley has a distinct sense of openness, with large masses of granite rock lining the ground.

A closer look

The trail began to do a U-turn, and I suddenly found myself at a trail intersection. I'd been on the Pyramid Creek trail, instead of the trail toward Horsetail Falls. There was no real harm, however, since the two trails basically parallel each other.

I continued on the main trail to the wilderness boundary. I was supposed to sign in here, but there weren't any more forms, so I just kept going. I shortly passed a striking small stand of golden aspens nestled amongst the green pine trees on the left. I continued, hoping for more, but that was the best display of colors on the hike.

Horsetail Falls

I shortly came to the falls themselves. Since it was October, the falls were a mere whisper of what I imagine they are in the spring and early summer. Still, it was nice to see the cascade. A pair of hikers came by while I was getting ready to turn around. They continued on the tricky route up the falls, but I decided that was enough.

On the way back, I somehow managed to lose the main trail, but regained it later. Near the end, though, it just seems to disappear in the granite. I carefully made my way down the steep granite until I rejoined the obvious trail at the bottom. Then it was a short walk back to my car.

Return to Lake Tahoe Fall 1999 trip report.


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