Distance: 2.8 miles roundtrip. Elevation gain: 700 ft. Great views of beautiful surroundings. Short but difficult workout.

Great views are waiting for you at the top of Horsetail Falls. Pyramid Creek flows down the steep, glacier carved granite faces of Desolation Wilderness to create this awesome waterfall that is estimated to be about 800 feet tall.

You will follow Pyramid Creek up the granite rocks to the top of the falls – note that this is a short, but difficult hike.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Day pack
  • Extra layers
  • Swimming attire
  • Camera
  • Hiking poles (optional)
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Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Forest
Lake
River
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Spend some time at the waterfalls

This hike on a hot day can be wonderful once you make it to the waterfalls and jump in, the water is ice cold but totally worth it!

Scramble all the way to the top!

It's a bit challenging and sketchy in a few sections but the scramble to the top of the falls and the lakes up above is totally worth it! Once you get up there you'll find a lot of solitude and a basin full of lakes and streams to explore. This can easily turn a short hike into an all day excursion.

Beautiful Hike!

Very beautiful but there is no defined trail. I really enjoyed it as it allows you to explore different paths. Dog friendly and I'm definitely coming back with my camera.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

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The trailhead to begin this hike is located at: 38.8117 N, 120.1237 W.

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Hike Pyramid Peak via Rocky Canyon

Pyramid Peak is the tallest peak in the Crystal Range and the Desolation Wilderness, just west of Lake Tahoe. On a clear day it can be seen from the Bay Area over 150 miles away.

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