Cascade Creek Falls – Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails
The Cascade Creek Falls hike is a regional favorite, as it’s almost instant gratification. The easy 1 mile trail through a stretch of spruce and ponderosa forest gains about 110 feet in elevation before opening up into a granite hillside and revealing a stunning sight – mountains above, Cascade Lake below, and the jaw dropping 200 foot falls. The falls are impressive, and Cascade Lake, a glacially carved lake 350 feet down below the ridge surrounded by forest, is absolutely beautiful as well. As if that wasn’t enough, the waterfall is surrounded by abundant wildflowers, ferns, cedar and cottonwood, and there are small gentle water wading pools near the falls the kids won’t be able to resist dipping their toes in.
To the north and east is a sweeping view of Lake Tahoe 600 feet below. The mixture of the smell of the trees and the rushing sound of water tumbling peacefully down granite is quite an experience. If you continue on along the trail, you’ll reach the top of Cascade Creek Falls, and the path turns west and climbs along the fast-flowing creek where it reaches an incredible view of the face of Mt. Tallac. After crossing a small log bridge, you’ll be able to explore the basin and further explore and admire the undisturbed beauty and view of Tallac before turning around on this out-and-back trail. If you’re hiking with children, you could opt to turn around at the falls after lunch at one of the superb picnic spots.
This hike is at its full beauty in springtime when the runoff from the snow melt is at its highest. It’s also best to witness the inspirational falls in the morning, as shadow will start to overtake the waterfall as the afternoon wears on. This popular hike is also likely to be less crowded in the morning. Wilderness permits are required, and are available via self-issue at the trailhead. To get to parking space, take Highway 89 north from South Lake Tahoe approximately 8 miles to the Bayview Campground across from Inspiration Point. Parking is at the far end of the campground.
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