Horsetail Falls Trail
This trail is a very easy and features boardwalk for 90% of
the trail. It is a steady climb the
entire way, but nothing to wind either Claimjumper or me. The boardwalk gives the entire trail a Swiss Family Robinson
feel. The makers of this trail used
cedar in some sections which did not withstand the shifting of the ground
beneath. Consequently, there are
spots where one must be very careful due to the possibility that the broken wood
may give out underneath somebody. This
is Indian Jones style adventuring! The trail is less than a mile
long and took us a half an hour to reach the top.
Whittier through the tunnel. After
crossing the bridge over Whittier Creek turn right on Whittier Street and cross
the railroad tracks. Pass the
Anchor Inn and go straight at the stop sign up the hill that curves to the left
toward the old barracks. As you
pass the old cement barracks turn right off the paved road and follow the dirt
road up the hill. There will be a
fork in the dirt road with a sign directing either straight ahead to the
Horsetail Falls Trail or left to the Emerald Bay Trail.
Drive to the parking area in front of the red gate and leave your
vehicle. Walk through the gate and
up the hill. The trail begins on
the right side of the road at the top of the hill.
There are no facilities at either end of the trail.
Consequently, there is also no cost to use it.
At the top there is a deck built large enough to support one tent.
This is about the best camp spot we found in Whittier. But before packing up all your gear we recommend first checking
to make sure nobody else had already taken it.
Bug dope is definitely a necessity on this trail.
There are two biters that hikers need to be wary of encountering.
Gnats dominate the lower half of the trail.
On the upper half they disappear… but only because the mosquitoes are
so ferocious that they don’t leave any blood left for the poor gnats.
The view of Whittier and Passage Canal from the deck is
phenomenal! It is amazing how many
boats dock in the harbor. We
learned during one of the tours that there is a five year waiting list for slips
in the harbor. Hmm,… smells like
an opportunity. Learnard Glacier
sparkles atop the mountains across the canal.
The trail passes through a bowl where a number of falls cascade down the slopes, joining into what becomes Whittier Creek. We ascended in the evening after the sun no longer shone into the bowl. We would recommend morning to afternoon climbs to get the most enjoyment out of viewing and photographing the falls. There are blueberries all along side the lower trail and salmon berry bushes all over once you climb above tree line.
Last Visited: September 2000.