Hey there fellow adventurers how's the daily grind? Me too. Well I have a special place for you and everyone else in the family to give you a change of scenery. The place I'm talking about is Horsetail Falls in the Eldorado National Forest. The hike to the falls starts at the Pyramid Creek Trailhead which is located off senic Hwy 50. We visited this jewel back in July and I'm finally dusting it off and sharing it with you.
This has to be one of the easiest places to find. From Sacramento head east on Hwy 50 until you come to the Pyramid Creek Trailhead parking area on your left. From Sacramento it's about 90 miles and about an 1 hr and 40 minute drive and it's less than 20 miles from South Lake Tahoe. There are many campgrounds along the way that can make the trip a little less hurried. We went for the day, but going up and staying the night before at a local campground would give you much more time to explore. I've added a Google Map link below.
As usual we decided to go on a whim. We have some friends that we'd been trying to get out and do something adventurous with. I believe the idea began during our game of bags out in front of the house the night before. Our in the know friends suggested we go to Horsetail Falls and since neither my baby or myself had ever been there before the decision was a no brainer. So we planned to head out in the morning. Coffee was made and the Forester loaded with the essentials, water, hydration packs, sunscreen, sandwiches and snacks (sunflower seeds and granola bars).
The parking at the trail head is very limited and unless you show up bright and early you will be parking across the highway as we did. Or get lucky and get a spot as somebodies leaving, good luck. Once your here you don't want to leave. The parking fee if I recall is $5- and there is a box right next to the trailhead information board. There are vault toilets here but as we walked by people were coming out of them saying there was no toilet paper. We always carry a roll in the car for just these types of situations.
We headed up the trail head towards the falls taking the Wilderness Boundry Trail. This trail takes you over and around granite as you make your way over to the creek. As you climb further into the valley you can see Horsetail Falls in the distance. You will come to a 4"x4" post that shows the Pyramid Creek Trail going to the right (this is the way we went). As you make your way up the trail you will pass many great spots to stop and swim or to just put your feet in the water. You may see Lilies and many other flowers along the way. I enjoyed the hike because one minute your traversing granite and manzanita, the next your going through tall pines or even through a grove of birch trees. One of these little groves of birch trees it seems is a favorite spot for people to leave their mark along the way. Our buddie "Nator" recalls being here with his family many years ago and had many stories to tell. Where we decided to stop and have lunch at a spot where there was a little waterfall spilling into several pools. Nator recalled hanging out at the swim hole with his childhood friends. He was the only one at this stop that had the courage to swim, at this point I was feeling a little ill and decided it was probably a better idea to get some nurishment than frolic in the cold water. From where we were you could get a spectacular view of Horsetail Falls, when we were here there was a lot of fast moving water so as Nator swam we kept an eye on him.
After we had snacked and Nator dried off we headed back down the trail to find another swim hole that all of us could enjoy. We had an idea where to find such a place because on our way up we passed a couple of spots that looked pretty inviting. The water was a bit nippy but it sure was refreshing.
Almost all of the way back to the trail head we stopped for a group photo. We look so darn happy don't we?
As I was walking across Hwy 50 I spotted a little envelope. Apparently someone dropped their day use fee, So I walked it back across Hwy 50 so that it could complete it's journey.
We had a wonderful time here and I'm sure you'll have the same experience when you decide to get away to Horsetail Falls.
Uncle Leo & Camping Girl