Cascade Falls Trail

This hike is another great South Lake Tahoe hiking trail.  It’s not as popular as the Eagle Falls & Eagle Lake Trail, but in my opinion is equally as impressive with regards to the views and the scenery you’ll cross.

  • top trails tahoeTrailhead: Bayview Trailhead and Campground, across from Inspiration Point (Emerald Bay) on Highway 89 – Open in Google Maps.
  • Length: 1.5 miles round trip; 1 hour.
  • Difficulty: Easy.  Just be careful on the granite.
  • Usage: Hikers and dogs.  Free, no permit required for Cascade Falls.
  • Best Time for Photography: If you want the falls to be lit, you’re going to have to be here early.  Some harsh light falls on them by late morning, then they’re in the shadows by the afternoon.
  • Trail Info Current: May 19, 2015
  • Further Reading: Top Trails: Lake Tahoe: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone
  • Go back to Lake Tahoe Hikes map

Plots created using digital topographic map data, not actual GPS logs. Distance and elevation profiles are approximate.

Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls

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Cascade Falls Trail Narrative

This is another parking lot that can fill up quickly during the summer, especially on the weekends.  There is parking dedicated for the trailhead and parking dedicated for the camp sites.  If the lot is full, you can park across the street at Inspiration Point.

Cascade Falls Trail

The trail to Cascade Falls alternates between wooded dirt paths and open granite pathways.

There’s not much to say about this trail – the pictures speak for it pretty well!

It’s relatively flat with very little climbing.  The trail is mostly packed dirt though there are a few spots where you’ll have to jump over rocks.

Views of Cascade Lake from the trail to Cascade Falls.

Views of Cascade Lake from the trail to Cascade Falls.

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When you reach the end of the dirt trail you’ll have a few choices to make.  To get to the falls, continue to the left and down a worn path over some rock and dirt stairs.

If you go right, you can explore Cascade Creek and many big open areas of granite slab, though this requires a small amount of scrambling.

Going straight will take you on a gentle, unmarked path to Cascade Creek.

Cascade Falls and Cascade Lake

The top of Cascade Falls with views of Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe.

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Tips for the Cascade Falls Trail

  • Because of its short length, this is a trail that can be combined with other activities in the same area.  The Eagle Falls & Eagle Lake trail is very close.  For the best photography, do Cascade Falls at first light and then proceed to Eagle Falls.  Vikingsholm is also a very interesting tour and across the highway from Eagle Falls.  Fallen Leaf Lake and Echo Lakes offer a lot of hiking too and are in the vicinity.
  • During dry winters this waterfall can be no more than a trickle by late June-July.  There is unfortunately no more snowmelt to feed Cascade Creek, so upon arrival at the end of the trail you’ll only be greeted by a bunch of granite and some areas shaded by the trees where the creek usually runs.  Otherwise the falls have the potential to run well through July and August.

Corrections, suggestions, or questions?  Please leave a comment below!

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