Hike to Frazier Falls
Lake Tahoe › Frazier Falls, Ca
Added by Ben Bardet
Explore this 176' Waterfall! The walk to Frazier Falls is a short, easy 1-mile roundtrip for the entire family. This is also a great picnic spot!
Frazier Falls is the ultimate family hike. Because the paved trail is only a mile long round trip, this trail is open to nearly anyone. Because of its relativly easy access and family friendly nature, this trail can get busy during the summer months.
To reach Frazier Falls from the town of Graeagle, Ca, head south on Highway 89 for about a mile and a half until you reach the turnoff for Gold Lake Highway. Take a right on Gold Lake Highway and continue up the scenic road for roughly another one and a half miles. The turnoff for the road towards that falls is on the left and is marked with a small sign indicating Frazier Falls Trail. The paved road to the falls is four miles long and although it is paved, it is relatively narrow so drive cautiously and watch for drivers coming in the other direction. Once you reach the trail head for the falls, you will see many picnic tables and a no flush restroom.
The trail itself has almost no elevation gain or loss as in winds its way through the forest towards the falls. A quarter of a mile into the hike, you reach a bridge over Frazier creek shortly before the creek plummets over the falls. From the bridge you can see where the creek ends and the falls begin. Keep an eye on small children and avoid getting near the creek as anyone that falls in will be swept over the falls. After crossing the creek, the trail continues for another quarter mile until it dead ends in to the overlook almost directly across form the falls. The overlook provides a perfect view of the falls and makes for a great photo opportunity. The entire 176 foot cascade can be seen from here and is quite powerful in the spring as the creek is fed by snow melt. The falls lose much of their flow in the late summer so for the most spectacular view, plan to do this hike in the spring or early summer. To get back to the trail head, simply retrace your steps for a half mile to your car. This hike is very short so it makes a great picnic spot or quick side trip if you are in the area.
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Chillin, Hiking, Photography
Spring, Summer, Autumn
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More Than Just The Falls
I found out about Frazier Falls through Outbound, and had never been to the area near the falls (Sierra City, Downieville) before going out to find this place. That said, the drive to the falls is gorgeous, and well worth it if you're coming from far off to get to Frazier like I was. So, the falls themselves are pretty cool. You get to see them from a viewing deck located a good distance from the falls themselves, and you can read some little history signs about the falls while you're there. The paved path getting to the viewing deck is short and easy. Before you get to that path's entrance, you have to take a drive down a windy, narrow road that often has snow and puddles on it. I forgot to bring chains when I went to the falls, so I had to park my car at the foot of the road and walk all the way to the path myself, which took a while. It wasn't an easy walk, but it was definitely the best part of my experience there. If you choose to walk like I did, and wander just a short ways off the road at any point, you'll be rewarded. There's streams and creeks, huge trees, lots of wildlife, forested areas and probably more that I missed. There's even a hidden pond, surrounded by low brush with birch trees coming up out of the water. I'd certainly recommend taking a look at these roadside places while you're at Frazier Falls. Of course, if you do, make sure you pack it in and pack it out: these places are very natural and aren't asking to be disturbed by humans, especially not by their garbage... can't stress that enough. In short, the view of the falls is nice, but what you can see near the road to the falls is even better.
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