Friday, July 8, 2016

Horsetail Falls Hike with the Fam

Horsetail Falls Hiking with the Fam
Last weekend we headed out to hike in the Sierras to Horsetail Falls which is south of Lake Tahoe. Hubby had it on his list of hikes to check out and figured this would be a good one to check out early especially because of all of the rain we had last winter. It was another great choice. The falls were beautiful!

The drive from Davis was about an hour and 35 minutes. The hike starts at the Twin Bridges trailhead just off of US50. It is best to get there early because there isn't much parking. We got there about 10am on a Saturday and the lot was full so we parked across the street at another lot and were lucky to get a spot. Other cars parked along the road further down. There are signs where it says no parking along the road but noticed on our way out that people did not obey them and parked anyway.
Horsetail Falls Parking lot
There are bathrooms at the trailhead which is always nice. I used the facilities and then we were off.
Horsetail Falls Trailhead
Here is a map of the trail. We took the trail and followed it right and into the Desolation Wilderness boundary up to the falls.
Horsetail Falls Trail map
Along the way we came across this nice little waterfall, a great picture taking opportunity.
When we got to the Pyramid Loop junction we veered right. It's not the most direct route to the falls, but a more scenic one with Cascade Vista on the way.
Pyramid Loop Junction on Horsetail Falls trail
Cascade Vista is really neat. It's another waterfall. Here's a video.
The trail can be difficult to follow with some parts of the trail on granite but if you are along the creek, we figured you will get to the falls at some point. 
Creek by Horsetail Falls Hike
There were these diamond shaped trail markers that we saw occasionally so we knew we were on the right track.
When you come across this kiosk, you have reached the Desolation Wilderness boundary. Day hikes require self registration. There are permits and pencils in the kiosk, it doesn't cost anything, just fill out the info and attach to your backpack and you are good to go.
Desolation Wilderness Boundary on Horsetail Falls hike
From this point of the trail they warn you that the trail may be difficult to follow and not maintained, but we managed pretty well to the base of the falls. Even if we followed a wrong path it wasn't too hard to find an alternate route that would lead us to the falls. When we got there, it was pretty cool at the base. This is a pic looking up.
Horsetail Falls, CA
 It was a great spot for lunch and to soak our feet in the nice cool water.
Base of Horsetail Falls, CA
After our break at the base, we continued onward to see how far we can go. There is no set ending point, so we just figured we'd just play it by ear and see how the boys did.
Heading up was challenging at times. We probably should have stuck closer to the falls but ended up going up a different route. There are multiple ways to go it was just a matter of choosing a route that was safe for the kiddos. There were some cairns (little rock piles) that Hubby saw so we followed them. There was lots of bouldering and climbing up granite slabs and even with that the boys did awesome.
When we got to this point close to the falls, we figured this would be a great spot to stop. It was so beautiful.
It was another great spot to soak our feet. This spot was nice because we had it to ourselves unlike at the base which was very crowded.
Horsetail Falls, CA
We hung out there for a while and the let the boys play and splash around in the water before heading down.
The hike for us turned out to be 4.7 miles roundtrip with about 1,095 feet elevation gain.
Overall, I'd say it was another awesome hike with the fam. The falls were so great to see. There were lots of people at the base, but if you hiked/climbed higher the crowds thinned. It was definitely worth it to climb higher. The base is also great and probably the safer choice. Lots of people brought their swim suits and found spots along the creek to swim and splash around. It's a great place to cool off. This is a hike that is great for all!

Happy hiking!

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