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“Horsetail Falls at Lake Tahoe”
Review of Horsetail Falls

More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This moderate to difficult hiking trail provides scenic views of the mountain peaks and a magnificent waterfall. Caution is advised regarding the treacherously slippery rock slabs in the stream and near the falls.
Reviewed 20 July 2014

This hike is about 25 minutes up hwy 50 from South Tahoe. Apparently if you hike all the way to the top of the falls it takes 4+ hours and there is a small lake up there that is feeding the falls. We hiked up to the point where we could see it totally cascading down the granite mountains. About 1 1/2 hours up. It was a great hike. Plenty hot during the day, but lots of water to cool off in. A majority of the hike is within 100 feet of the river/falls coming down. There were lots of places to get in and play in the water. There is one amazing cascading waterfall to stop and play in. The water comes rushing down this a wide sloping area and it was so beautiful. This area of the hike was only about 1/4 to 1/2 miles up the trail. Not bad if that’s as far as you want to go, plus you still get plenty of chances to view the big falls coming over the mountain. The only bummer on this hike for us was that my 13 year old, who was leading us back down the mountain, nearly stepped on a rattlesnake that was slithering across the trail. I know we are in their lands, and are pretty much all over these mountain that we all play in, but we sure didn’t want to see one. It totally FREAKED her out (rightfully so) and she was an anxiety mess for about the next 3 days.

2  Thank Kristin0465
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7 - 11 of 19 reviews

Reviewed 3 November 2013

I drove by here many times, every time saying I was going to hike up there...
After ten years, I finally got around to it...
Had breakfast in Placerville at Mel's Diner first...
We took a backpack with water and sandwiches for the hike...
I'm glad I did it...
This is also a tributary for the south fork of the American River...
And there is a lake at the top of the falls, with another waterfall behind that lake...
Worth a day trip!!

4  Thank goopygeer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2013

This is one of those spots that will forever live in my minds eye. The smooth hike over house-sized boulders and bedrock, the warmth from laying on those rocks in the summer evenings, the starry nights. The rushing, icy, crystal clear carving itself into the bedrock, body-shooting (careful now) some minor rapids, laying next to the waterfall where the sound plays strange, eerie tricks on your mind. All within an hour of the parking lot but a wilderness away. Take a hike, spend the night. Really want a show??? Go August 10-13, 2013 to catch the Perseids meteor shower.

5  Thank PapaSunna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2013

There is much to see while hiking through the Desolation Wilderness. The views from the top of the falls are amazing. The hike from the base to the top of the falls is rather difficult. It took my group and I roughly 3 hours to get to the top. Be forewarned there is no clear pathway up the falls, if you keep the falls to your right and scramble up the large granite boulders it is possible to make it up without too much difficulty. The lake at the top is very beautiful. If you plan to attempt this hike to the top, be sure to get an early start to allow time to enjoy the beautiful landscape at the top of the falls. BE CAREFUL!!! Some of the hike can be dangerous, and make sure you have proper gear. i.e. hiking boots and plenty of water.

4  Thank Nick V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2011

Very nice area, and awesome reviews. But are all of you jerks just screwing with the rest of us?? Sure, the walk to the base of the falls is pretty, and fine for family & kids. But while so many reviews cavalierly describe a "moderately" challenging scramble to the top of the falls, and into the Desolation wilderness area, there is NO reasonable route to the top of the falls. A half dozen attempts on my part all ended up at the base of 100+ foot cliffs or chimney structures impassible by all by hard core climbers with serious gear. Very frustrating. If your experience is different, please give some of us a clue. All else, be forwarned. Not nearly as easy as advertised.

18  Thank dougsouthshore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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