Skip to Content

South Lake Tahoe Hiking Trails: Cascade Falls

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I earn a small commission of product sales to keep this website going.

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.
  • Are Drones Allowed: Yes.
  • Trail Info Current: June 7, 2017
  • Further Reading: Top Trails: Lake Tahoe: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone
  • Go back to Lake Tahoe Hikes map
cascade falls

Click on map for Gaia GPS track information

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.

Cascade Lake

Views of Cascade Lake from the trail to Cascade Falls.

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.

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!


Sunday 12th of June 2022

Hi John, Love your breathtaking photos of the Cascade Falls & Trails, that was posted back in June, 2017. Can you confirm if its still, allowed to fly small Drones this year on 2022, in the Cascade Falls Trail area? I was looking at your posted Map of the area. Trying to figure out if this area falls under State Parks, Desolations Wilderness, or National parks? Does Cascade Fall Trail, belong to the State Park Property? Can you name some other area like this to fly drones? Looking at the map it looks like Cascade Fall Trail/Cascade Lake falls just outside of the Lake Tahoe (ATC) Restriction Airspace correct? Greatly Appreciated,

John Peltier

Sunday 12th of June 2022

Yes you’re good, Cascade Falls is surrounded by Wilderness, State Parks lands, and Class E airspace, but if you fly from the falls and maintain visual contact you’ll be good.


Sunday 23rd of August 2020

Thanks for the info . Do you need to get a permit to fly a recreational drone to the ranger station?

John Peltier

Monday 24th of August 2020

Which ranger station are you asking about?


Tuesday 20th of August 2019

Thank yo so much for your drone map. It helped me so much. And because of that I got to take some pictures and video with my drone at Cascade Lake. Very much appreciated!

John Peltier

Tuesday 20th of August 2019

Awesome, glad it helped! There are still plenty of great areas in Lake Tahoe where you can take photos with drones.