Palisades Creek Trail - Hike and Swim near Truckee, California
Soda Springs, CA 95728, USA,Truckee,California
39.3015403793509, -120.43549239635468
13.6 miles W of Truckee, California
Address: Soda Springs, CA 95728, USA
GPS: 39°18'5.5"N 120°26'7.8"W
Maps | Directions
State: California
Trail Length: 12.00 miles
Trail Type: Out & Back
Hike Difficulty: Advanced

Lakes Rivers Waterfalls Trails Wildflowers

Hike and Swim

The Palisades Creek Trail is a difficult hike that can be done in a day, but is better enjoyed as an overnight trip. This trail has showcases some beautiful waterfalls along the way as well as excellent vista points of nearby mountain peaks. Much of the trail does cross into private lands, so please respect the rights of the landowners. At first the trial is a mild down hill trek, though after about two miles, the trail gets steeper. Along the way, hikers will have great views of Devils Peak as it stands above the Sierra Nevada treeline. They will also be able to pass by several lakes including Long lake and Cascade Lake. There are several ponds throughout the trail which can provide a water filling spot if hikers have packed filtration systems. 

One of the must see spots along the trail is Palisade Falls or Heath Falls. This waterfall is one of the tallest along the American river, and is one of the first along the river. It is beautiful to look at, though can be a little tricky getting to. The trail hasn't been kept up over the years and so finding the specific trail to the waterfall might involve some exploring. The views of the waterfall are well worth the work, and if feeling adventurous, it makes a great swimming hole. 

After this point, the trail becomes steep mountain switchbacks. The trail steadily gains in elevation, about 2,000 ft over three miles. Many people will turn back at this point, or make camp. Overall there is some really beautiful spots along this trail, and is best done when the snow has cleared from the roads, but the snowmelt is still flowing through the rivers and lakes. 

2.7K Written by cteicheira

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Be courteous, informed, and prepared. Read trailhead guidelines, stay on the trail, and don’t feed the wildlife.

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  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors


From Truckee, California

  1. Head northwest toward Donner Pass Rd (66 ft)
  2. Turn left onto Donner Pass Rd (0.5 mi)
  3. At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit and stay on Donner Pass Rd (0.1 mi)
  4. Turn left to merge onto I-80 W toward Sacramento (11.7 mi)
  5. Take exit 174 toward Soda Springs/Norden (0.2 mi)
  6. Turn left onto Donner Pass Rd (0.8 mi)
  7. Turn right onto Soda Springs Rd (0.9 mi)
  8. Turn right onto Pahatsi Rd (0.4 mi)
  9. Continue onto Kidd Lakes Rd (3.8 mi)
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100+ ft Gainer in Soda Springs CA by Nick Coulter

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