Rating: (or out of season)
Distance: 3 miles
Elevation gain: 600ft (from 6,100 - 6,700ft)
Late spring and early summer may be the best times to experience Horsetail Falls, but a hike up the Pyramid Creek trail to the falls is still a worthwhile experience at any time of the year. If you can find a parking spot at the busy US50 trailhead that is.
The great views begin almost immediately as you happen across the first of a series of small waterfalls and cascades on your way to the 500 foot gem of a waterfall which is this hike's ultimate goal. Also take time to look behind you and marvel towards Lovers Leap and the glaciated valley bowl below, which reminded us of Yosemite Valley.
Trail-finding can be difficult during the middle part of the hike as it traverses over bald expanses of granite. Our recommended outbound route roughly follows alongside the creek for much of the initial loop before meeting up with the out-and-back section of the trail which also follows the creek. Stick by Pyramid Creek and you won't be taking any unwanted detours.
Although the trail is relatively short you'll want to allow some time to both admire the views and tackle the terrain. The trail is relatively rough, so you'll be negotiating around and over rocky ground for over half the journey.
A fee is payable for the use of the trailhead parking lot. Self-registration into the Desolation Wilderness section of the hike is mandatory but free - permits and pencils are available at the boundary where a posted sign details rules about the protected wilderness area.
- Trailspotting Images: Horsetail Falls on Flickr
- Waterfalls West: Horsetail Falls