Top 5 Waterfalls Around South Lake Tahoe

Top 5 Waterfalls

The roaring that you hear isn’t bears waking up after their winter hibernation. Nope. It’s the incredible waterfalls that grace our area. The water is cascading over shelves of ancient stone and granite at incredible velocity, due to the abundant spring runoff.

Waterfalls of South Lake Tahoe

Grab your shoes, pack a lunch, bring a camera and be prepared for some impressive falls. Here are some of my favorite spots:

Lower Glen Alpine Waterfall - Rachid Dahnoun / LTVA
Lower Glen Alpine Waterfall – Rachid Dahnoun / LTVA
  1. Cascade Creek Falls A must-see, Cascade Creek Falls Trail offers a moderate mile-long path with lavish ferns and wildflowers along the way. The Trailhead is off of Highway 89 at Emerald Bay from the Bayview Campground across from Inspiration Point.
  2. Eagle Falls This gorgeous waterfall is set against the backdrop of iconic Emerald Bay. There are the lower or upper falls – both equally beautiful. Lower Eagle Falls is about a mile walk down with drops in two large cascades of 60 and 90 feet. It’s an easy to moderate hike and takes about 20-30 minutes. Pack your water bottles and lunch for a quick bite at the picnic area. From the picnic area, continue a quarter of a mile up to see the Upper Eagle Falls.
  3. Glen Alpine Falls With 65 feet of layered drops, the stair-step, snow-fed stream setting of Glen Alpine Falls above Fallen Leaf Lake is perfect for pictures. It’s easily accessible from Highway 89 north, approximately three miles from Highway 50. (Look for Fallen Leaf Lake Road.) Continue until you see the trailhead sign and turn left. Parking is across from Lily Lake. The best time to view is now through the end of May.
  4. Horsetail Falls If you’ve ever taken Highway 50 to South Lake Tahoe, then chances are you’ve seen a magnificent crashing waterfall to the north just as you’re approaching Twin Bridges. This is Horsetail Falls, created by Pyramid Creek flowing down the steep glacier-carved granite faces of Desolation Wilderness. Its 800-foot drop makes it the largest waterfall in the Tahoe area and a wonder to be witnessed. From Tahoe South take Highway 50 west about seven miles from Echo Summit and park in the well-developed parking area near Twin Bridges and the Pyramid Creek Trail.
  5. Fontanillis Lake Falls It might be five miles to reach the waterfall with a 150-foot cascade that drops from Fontanillis Lake to Upper Velma Lake.  This is a must see in spring and early summer months. You will need to obtain a wilderness permit at the Eagle Falls trailhead for this day-long hike and you won’t want to forget a lunch, a camera, and stamina.

If you do take your pooch on the hike, be safe! Water can flow fairly rapidly in early spring and summer in Tahoe. Please note: Waterfall levels change seasonally, and gradually lessen through the summer months.
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Top 5 Waterfalls Around South Lake Tahoe

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