I am so lucky to live where I live.
Lake Tahoe is basically in my backyard and although my usual trips up there are about an hour drive, sometimes I am hesitant to drive the extra hour to get to someplace new.
I had heard about Horsetail Falls and seen great pictures, I really wanted to see it for myself. Then, I looked up the directions. An hour and forty-five-minute drive. For a 3 mile hike? I didn’t know if it would be worth it.
Spoiler: It was.
I said screw it and texted my long-time hiking buddy (my Aunt Sharon) and asked if she would like to go with me. She said yes and we agreed to leave Reno at 7am, with a coffee stop of course.
We got there around 9:30am and the parking lot was full, so I recommend getting there extra early. (several groups of people were just starting as we finished and the parking had only gotten worse by the time we got back) I would further suggest going on a weekday.
We started our hike and very quickly came across our first little waterfall. You basically follow the creek all the way up to falls so there are plenty of incredible views. The trail itself is a mix of forest and rock, I suggest wearing shoes with grip. Not too far in, we came to a divide where you could go straight or right, both leading to the top. A lovely couple informed us that the straight path is simply more direct.
We went right.
We came across another cool waterfall, cascading downs the rocks. It was beautiful. We then kept following the blue arrows. But to me, there was no right path. With so much wide-open terrain and different ways of going up, it was okay to feel a little lost.
The scenery was incredible, there is so much to look at. From the mountains all around you, the creek on your right, the little wildflowers, the rock formations, the birds, every little hidden gem. You can also see the falls at the top of mountain as you make your way up. Another bonus is that there are some swimming holes along the way if you want to cool off.
Be prepared for some rock scaling especially toward the top.
After a little bit of climbing, we made it to the falls. It was incredible. Pictures could not do it justice. We sat and enjoyed the view.
You can hike up to the very top, it would require a little bit of climbing and proper footwear though. We were content with our view. And if you make it up to where we were, you can find a nice hidden gem that my Aunt Sharon left behind.
We made our way back down with our fair share of crab-walking and crawling and sliding and scooting. You gotta do what you gotta do. The rocks can be tricky and very slippery. Also it was not the exact path we took up.
A conversation on the way down:
Fellow Hiker: “I’m not sure if I should go this way or that way.”
Aunt Sharon: “Yeahhh, there’s a lot of that.”
I won’t lie, the trail can be a little confusing, but if you keep going up and keep an eye out for blue arrows, you will find your way. We ended up hiking 5.5 miles (and 129 floors according to my Fitbit), I’m sure it varies with which path you take but it was a day well spent. Always bring plenty of water and snacks just in case your hikes end up being longer than planned.
Remember, sometimes the plan is no plan. Overall, great company and a great destination.
I know it can be weird returning to normalcy. I hadn’t seen my aunt in over a couple months so we had a lot of catching up to do. And I think the outdoors is always the best answer. I was thankful to have this time and this experience shared with her. I recommend this trail to all of you, especially with a loved one! The drive and the hike up is more than worth it. And it feels so good to get up, move, explore, and feel the sunshine.
Please leave a comment or share a picture if you check out this trail!