California, the third largest state in the U.S., is home to some of the most scenic natural areas. From Big Sur to the beaches of Southern California to Yosemite National Park, there is hardly anywhere you can go in California that you won’t be amazed by the beautiful scenery. Horsetail falls is one such place.
Located West of Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County, Horsetail Falls is one of the most popular hikes in California.
The hike takes you through beautiful, green forest and hard, granite landscapes before you wind up at the amazingly beautiful waterfall. But, you have to be an experienced hiker in very good shape to make the climb!
The trail head to Horsetail Falls hiking trail begins at an elevation of 6,000 feet and the two-mile hike ends at around 7,200 feet. It’s a steep climb that includes boulder climbing near the top of Horsetail Falls. There is also no defined trail, so you have to be good with direction to not get lost.
It’s advised not to get too close to the falls and not to try to cross them. Also, stay out of any pools at the top of the falls, especially in Spring when the water is high. You can still enjoy the fabulous views of the scenery and the roar of the falls from a distance.
The most rewarding time of year to take the hike is in February when the setting sun makes the waterfall look more like a lava flow! The reflecting rays of the dying sun turn the colors of the falls from blazing yellow to fiery red. It’s a coveted sight for the most dedicated of naturalists.