Hike to Bassi Falls

Lake Tahoe Bassi Falls Trailhead

Added by Beth Young

Scenic views of a powerful waterfall, granite boulders and towering pinesFew crowdsPhotographic possibilities abound, including the foliage and boulders at the base of the falls1.2 mile hike250 foot elevation gain

109' tall Bassi Falls is located in the Crystal Basin area of the El Dorado National Forest. These gorgeous falls at peak Springtime flow crash over enormous boulders and the water sheets over huge, flat slabs of granite. It is located off a rural, pot-holed dirt road (high clearance vehicles recommended) . Afternoon is a preferable time to photograph here, since the light will be hitting the falls, and if you're lucky, you'll witness rainbows as well.

On Highway 50, east of Pollock Pines, head north on Ice House Road for approximately 15 miles, until you cross Big Silver Creek, east of Union Valley Reservoir. Turn right onto the first dirt road, heading left at the first fork. After approximately 1.5 miles, the dirt road terminates to a dead end parking area where the trail is clearly marked, and you will hear the powerful falls from the trailhead approximately 1/2 mile away!

There is also a steep climb to the top of the falls, to (carefully) witness Bassi Creek hurtling over the edge.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Polarized Filter
  • Water resistant footwear and clothing
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Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:






Dog Friendly

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How to Get There

7 months ago

Multiple Options

The great thing about the area is there are multiple parking areas and multiple trail heads. This leads to accommodating more people which does take some of the quaintness out of the hike, but the great part is a few of those parking lots allow for a bit longer of a hike. If you forego the last left hand turn and stick straight once you turn off Ice House Rd, take that until you reach the dead end and there is parking there or down the hill at a second parking lot. These lots have trail heads for a 2 mile hike to the falls, which we loved so much more than the small hike the author talks about. The longer hike lets you see more of the falls that are downstream of the main falls. The hike is easy with all elevation changes being gradual. We went in July and it was 80* out, so out water packs helped out immensely, but the ability to stop at multiple points on the river and stick your head/feet in really helped, and added to the hike. The falls are probably best to see in the April/May timeframe as the water was a little low today, but nonetheless, still a fun, worthwhile hike

7 months ago

Added by Beth Young

I'm a licensed architect specializing in healthcare facilities, with a strong passion for capturing the beauty of the natural world. 
 Nature photography in particular connects me more intimately to the nuances of weather, light and the changing seasons, and taught me how to really "see". I'm continuously striving to learn new things about photography every single day.
 I recently became a contributing photographer to the Foundation for Photo/Art in Hospitals, which encourages the use of nature photography to alleviate stress and anxiety in patients, their families and caregivers, a cause that's near and dear to my heart.
 I grew up in NY state but now reside in the Sacramento, California area, and enjoy capturing images of the rugged beauty of Northern California. I can be found on Instagram @optimal_focus or check out my photography at www.optimalfocusphotography.com/

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