Cataract Falls Trail Loop

MODERATE 7 reviews
#14 of 35 trails in

Cataract Falls Trail Loop is a 7.7 mile loop trail located near Fairfax, CA that features a waterfall. The trail is rated as moderate offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.7 miles 1945 feet Loop

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running






See Marin County's most scenic waterfalls. Cataract Creek Trail offers a perfect excuse to play hooky from work or spend a vacation day in the woods. The creek's waterfalls provide a spectacular anchor for a 7-mile loop through the scenic lands of the Mount Tamalpais Watershed. You could just hike a mile and a quarter to the top of the Cataract Creek Trail and return, but I figure if you're going to drive this deep into the Marin County backcountry, you may as well get a few hours of hiking in. The loop includes scenic vistas stretching to the Pacific Ocean, narrow single-track into the wooded hillsides into forests of young redwood and Douglas fir. Marin County has over 500 miles of trails; these are among the best.

21 days ago

Beware! The road is closed 4.8 miles away from the trailhead.

2 months ago

what a lovely place.. people should know these good places.

1 year ago

Really fantastic hike, but it is definitely strenuous, not moderate! Beginning is very steep and then there is a lot of up and down climbs after the steep ascent. I have done several other 7 mile trails rated anywhere between moderate and strenuous. This was definitely one of the most strenuous hikes that I've done.

Scenery was really fantastic. Even though there is a drought, the stream and waterfalls were still very beautiful. You cross through all different types of terrain and surroundings - redwoods, marsh, dry scrub, etc. The lake view between the Helen Markt and Kent Trails was beautiful and very peaceful. My friend and I were the only people there for a good 15 minutes. While hiking on the Kent and High Marsh Trails, we literally only passed one other person. Definitely a great loop to do if you want some solitude (though the beginning at the Cataract Trail is very popular).

Also definitely take more water than you think you might need!!

1 year ago

Cataract Trail Loop is really great trail to be on. One my favorite one, Covered all most the times, exposed towards top multiple times.

Several small water fall and creek running all the way. Very pleasant hike. Lake side view at Kent Trail to Helen Markt Trail is great place to hangout and have food. You can meditate with emptiness of nature over their.

Good Shoe is shoe highly recommended , trail is sloppy and not well managed so be careful while walking.

Every bit is enjoyable. Falls, Mountains, RedWood, Herb Tress, Across. You will also cross are where their mark of past wilf fire.

1 year ago

Started early around 7-8am It was an overcast day and they said partly cloudy and showers in the afternoon. Great trail! Tons of stairs and waterfalls along the way up. Be careful. Wear good hiking shoes. Bring snacks and water. A light workout coat if your going early. You'll eventually take it off. Great leg workout! If your into photography or even posting pictures for your friends and family on facebook and instagram. Get ready there are tons of waterfalls and great scenery to capture!

2 years ago

This trail is one of the most beautiful ones I have done in the recent times. We started out very early in the day. We reached the cataract trail starting point by 7:45AM. There were not many visitors yet. We got the parking quite easily.

I would not recommend this to beginners. It is quite strenous and would recommend some practise before attempting it.

There are lot of waterfalls and water streams along the path. The path is good to do even on hot summer days given the fact that the path is mostly covered with huge trees and thick forest.

Make sure you enjoy the path at every phase of it. I highly recommend this trail to people who love nature. Last but not the lease, stop and take a look at the Alpine Dam which is nearby.

Happy Hiking !

3 years ago

Great hike! The beginning is steep but the waterfalls make the climb worthwhile. I finished my entire camelpak (50 oz) which I did not expect on a hike of this length so definitely plan to bring extra water.