Sunday, June 10, 2018

Pyramid Creek Loop Trail

One of the unnamed Pyramic Creek waterfalls next to the loop trail  (June 3, 2018)

The Pyramid Creek Loop Trail is your trail loop to access the Desolation Wilderness boundary and nearby Horsetail Falls—a waterfall named for its series of waterfalls of the horsetail type.

The distance from the Pyramid Creek Trailhead to the beginning of the loop is about half a mile. If you decide to hike the loop counter-clockwise, you will reach The Cascades viewing point after a quarter-mile climb. This is a spectacular site, especially during springtime. Here, the water of Pyramid Creek slides down over solid granite.

The Cascades
From the Cascade Vista the trail continues over rock slabs and through scattered forest, never far away from the twisting course of Pyramid Creek. While you climb up the canyon and eventually veer away from the creek, you will enjoy amazing (over)views of the stepped granite headwall with Horsetail Falls cascading downwall in stages through the granite cleft. Keep the waterfall ahead of you, and you will not get lost.

Looking north over a rock slab with Horsetail Falls still at a distance

At the wilderness boundary, you are asked to self-register for a day-use permit. Unclear in places, the trail either follows the riparian creek canyon or leads around granite blocks and over rock slabs. Keep scrambling up the slopes to the base of the waterfall—browsing over the glacier-carved granite faces in front of you. Find your spot to rest, relax and listen to the roaring water.

At the base of  Horsetail Falls

Map of Pyramid Creek Loop Trail including The Cascades

Getting to the Pyramid Creek Trailhead

The trailhead is located next to Highway 50, less than seven miles west of Echo Summit. The trailhead parking lot is well-marked. The parking fee for a day currently is $5.00.



References and more to to explore

[1] Pyramid Creek Cascades, El Dorado County, California, United States. World Waterfall Database.   Link:

[2] Rick: Horsetail Falls: A challenging hike to an imressive waterfall. CalEXPLORnia, August 11, 2014. Link:

[3] Stephen Berei: Watch your step hiking Horsetail Falls. Lake Tahoe All Access, May 25, 2013. Link:

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