Bassi Falls towers 109 ft. in the air and presents a cascading waterfall over a series of rocks and boulders, into a small plunge pool at the bottom. It’s an impressive sight and a fun place to spend the afternoon and swim! If you visit during the summer, you’ll see people of all ages, locals and tourists alike, enjoying the view and basking in the sun.
The falls are fairly accessible and can be reached by multiple trailheads, one of which is a quick 1.2-mile hike. Since it’s easy to get to, has space to spend the day, and is a beautiful waterfall in the El Dorado National Forest, many people flock to Bassi Falls in the spring and summer seasons.
It’s one of our favorite places in the region, and definitely somewhere you must visit. Below is everything you need for your trip to Bassi Falls, including camping, the best time to visit, hiking and more!
The Hike to Bassi Falls
When deciding on your route to Bassi Falls, you can choose to start your hike from one of two different trailheads. The two options are different lengths, but neither one of them is an overly difficult hike.
The shortest route to the falls has a tough dirt road leading up to it that is only recommended for all-wheel vehicles. The other trailhead also requires an all-wheel vehicle to get to, but the journey to the trailhead on the rough road is shorter. In turn, the hike to the falls becomes longer. It’s a trade-off you’ll have to make.
The hikes are enjoyable, trailing through El Dorado National Forest and showcasing multiple swimming holes in the creek along the way. Both trails are well-marked and easy to follow.
You can also hear the falls for most of the hike if you’re visiting during the right time of year. Once you get closer to the falls, you may have to do some rock scrambling to get to the top of the falls, but it’s not technical scrambling and can be done by most fitness levels.
Best Time to Visit Bassi Falls
The best time to see the falls in full force is in the late spring when the snowmelt brings extra power to Bassi Falls, making the experience that much more magnificent.
As the summer heats up and the snowmelt trails off, the falls will become much less intense and resemble more of a trickle. Late in the summer season, the falls will likely be entirely dried up, along with the swimming holes in the creek that lead to the falls.
The road to Bassi Falls is closed in the winter because the snow makes it impassable, so be sure to plan your visit during the right time of year in order to take advantage of all that Bassi Falls has to offer.
Camping Near Bassi Falls
If you want to make a weekend trip out of your visit to Bassi Falls, there are some great campgrounds in that area of El Dorado National Forest.
Though you can’t camp near the falls, Wench Creek Campground is just over 2 miles away and is a highly regarded campground in the area. Wolf Creek Campground and Smudea Power Pine Campground are both just about 3 miles away from the falls. Your options are plentiful, but due to the area’s popularity, try to make camping reservations ahead of time if you can!
If camping isn’t your style, there are plenty of vacation rentals and resorts in the El Dorado National Forest that serve as wonderful accommodation. No matter where you’re staying, or even if you’re just passing through, be sure to make time to visit Bassi Falls.
Must-visit Attractions Near Bassi Falls
Bassi Falls is near Tahoe, which has a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy! If you have some time to stop and stay on Lake Tahoe, it’s a worthwhile place.
The waters are turquoise, and the giant lake has so much to offer. Driving around it and admiring the scenery is at least a 3-hour experience! For a unique adventure, rent clear-bottom kayaks and cruise around the lake. You’d be surprised at how far down you can see in some areas! Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay – with its boat rentals and hiking trails – is one of our favorite areas of the state. (Recommended: An Insider’s Guide to Emerald Bay).
Though it’s nearly impossible to visit Bassi Falls in the winter, Lake Tahoe really is a great place to visit during that time. It welcomes winter sports lovers with multiple ski resorts and sled hills, as well as spectacular snowy mountain views.
Feeling Hungry? Dining Options near Bassi Falls
In the nearby town of Pollock Pines there are a few dining options that are worth a stop. Much of the food in the area is American fare including burgers and sandwiches.
Burger Barn is a local spot in Pollock Pines that has juicy burgers and accommodates vegetarian needs. Grand Restaurant and Bar is a Barbecue restaurant that’s popular with locals and tourists alike, while for a quick pizza, check out Pizza Factory.
The food may not be world-class, but the waterfall sure is! You’ll feel more of a small-town mountain energy in most of the places, though some of the resorts along Lake Tahoe do have some fancier dining options you can explore.
Who was Bassi?
Bassi Falls is named after Giosue Bassi who moved to California from Valle, Switzerland. He left Switzerland with little money and big dreams and moved to the area to work on mines and dairy ranches.
Eventually, Bassi purchased his own dairy farm and continued to grow his land over the years. He enjoyed the creek and the falls in the summer and became a prominent member of the community. Today, some of his descendants still live in the area where the falls are.
The Perfect Day at Bassi Falls
When planning your day trip to Bassi Falls, we recommend the following:
Visit during the late spring or early summer. If you are lucky, you might find a June day that’s warm enough for swimming in the plunge pool while Bassi Falls is still inundated with snowmelt.
Pack a picnic, spend the day exploring the area with your family, eating your homemade lunch, and swimming in the water if you dare. The water will be cold this time of year! So be sure you have dry clothes with you for the hike back to your car.