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It’s really steep, which makes the return trip (descent) a bit difficult. The majority of it is in the sun, with limited tree coverage, so be sure to wear sunscreen! I prefer some of the other fire trail hikes that are more wooded.

This is our go to trail when hot or raining... The trail is under the canapy and easy to moderate... The trail is always changing and if you are lucky you will see a nice waterfall

beautiful hike

hiking
4 days ago

As an amateur hiker, I found this moderately challenging but satisfying. Lots of incline but with a wonderful view. It was a beautiful scenic route and heavily shaded. Terrain was a bit loose in some areas so the correct shoes for this hike is essential. Parking was a bit confusing and I think we began at the wrong end as we started decline end first. I would not bring my children here however there was a family with small children. Overall, one of my favorites so far, definitely one to do again (in the the spring, when there’s more water)

This hike is a nice representation of California. Know that this trail is legit hard. The uphills are steep and seemingly never ending. The views will provide just the right amount of distraction and reason to stop and rest. There’s also plenty of shady parts. It’s a bit tricky to follow the trail on the rebound. We got off trail, but plenty of cut overs were available. The trail also had quite a few benches, so take a lunch/snacks and enjoy the view! There’s a reason this is called a panoramic hike. You’ll have multiple views of Mt Tam, SF, Oakland and beyond.

Take plenty of water!

hiking
15 days ago

This is classified as a moderate hike but for the first time hiker it may be a challenge. There are many sets of steep wooden stairs. Also rock “stairs” to navigate. Dogs on leash are allowed to hike here. I would not recommend taking a dog that is not used to steep rocky hikes. My girl is a good hiker and can handle inclines but this was too difficult for her. We had to take several breaks and she only made it about halfway. Be careful going down as some of the places have gravel that can cause you to slip. Finally I would suggest going in the winter or spring. I went in the summer and though the lake was pretty the waterfalls were almost non existent.

Great hike mostly an incline up stairs and rocks. Great picnic area about 1.4 miles up. Lovely mystic look with a forest feel.

FYI no bathroom. Nice trail though.

I love this hike and have been back 4 times in the past 2 months. It’s about a 6.5 mile loop and the first half is all incline but you get some breaks in between each hill which helps. Be prepared for some rocky/gravel areas which can get slippery so wear good hiking shoes.

The second half of the hike is easy and you get even better views from the other side of the hill. Beautiful views throughout the trail. About half is covered. It can get pretty hot depending on the weather and the annoying flies come out.

17 days ago

The path is wide and well signed. It starts with a gentle incline through mostly exposed ravine. This takes you over the hill and back towards the road. From the new trail head, you walk steadily uphill through partially shaded trees to the ridge line. Once at the top you are rewarded with views of East Bay hills and reservoirs on one side and Bridges and bayviews to the other side. There are some nice benches to sit and enjoy the vistas. Then, it is a shady decline through bay and eucalyptus trees. Some parts are a bit rocky and steep, but doable.

Hiked the loop today (7/29/18). Parking across the dam at the trailhead was limited. Started at 10:30 am. Went counter clockwise. Very steep up the creek to the falls. Eventually it leveled out to picnic area about 1.5 miles in. The trail around to the east was very nice and well maintained. Not a lot of views and the trail was in shade most of the way. From the where the trail went back down to the lake, the trail back to the original trail at the falls was long. Probably because it was hot and it seemed to keep going and going and going. Once at the turn off at the falls and back to parking, the rest of the hike was all down hill. The guide says it is 7+ miles but my iPhone activity said I went 9.3 miles. I do a lot of hiking and this distance seemed more accurate.

stream trail is the best, all in redwoods and always chillly

Whether you start from either French Trail or Stream Trail, there's good elevation coming in and out of it. You’ll find several picnic tables along the way and enough bathroom facilities. There's also lots of side trails to explore.

My AllTrails app suddenly stopped recording at one point so I wasn't able to full record my hike but that's ok (pardon the gap on my recording).

If you decide to hike on a weekend and choose Skyline Gate Staging Area as your starting point, try to get there before 8am to have a better chance at finding parking (vs street parking).

What is great about this trail is that you can make it as long or short as you like. There ate lots of trails that off shoot this trail so if you want an extension or if you want to cut it short you can. The French trail is one of my favorites because first of all it’s beautiful, it’s up-and-down to get a nice workout and no bikes!
it really is a good idea to get there early as it does get crowded and it tends to get warm as you’re making your way uphill back to the parking lot. Definitely put this one on you list!

Cataract falls is an amazing trail. Lots of sights to see and the creek runs along the trail. There are signs all along the way with steps and rails to
Keep you sure footed. Be sure to arrive early because it will definitely get crowded after noon. Parking can be limited as well if you arrive late. All in all great trail and I definitely recommend it for the family hikers with kids. Enjoy!

Very nice elevation loop. You will feel the burn. Start as early as possible.

Great views of the city and plenty of elevation change to raise the bpm.

I loved this hike!!! Definitely going to do this again but earlier in the morning (i would suggest to start at 9:00am). My boyfriend and I started at 12:00pm and ended around 3:00pm. Bring snacks to eat and lots of water. Hardest part was driving there and parking, but thats why i would suggest to get their early.

I will rated as easy with excellent views!

Easy parking at Inspiration Point, then can reach the trail from there. Wonderful views and breeze. Partially shaded, but had and sunscreen a good idea. Budget 2 hours to make the full loop. Semi rocky in parts, so close-toed shoes recommended. Great moderate hike!

Within few minutes you forget that you are very near to some of the busiest cities. A close-up experience with nature, this moderately rated hike will help you appreciate the much needed quiet time you are missing after living in the city. Good for kids who can manage some elevation.

Beautiful hike; most of it is shaded which is nice on a hot day, steady elevation, easy parking and easy to follow. One thing though is there are no bathrooms so plan accordingly :)

Lots of climbing but pretty scenery throughout! I didn’t feel there was a big ‘pay-off’ moment at the top with a nice view so that’s why I’d rate this one a 4!

Got to Skyline parking lot before 8am on a Sunday and it was already full so had to park along the street. Hike down Stream Trail and to the other parking lot was pretty easy, shaded and downhill, passing by campsites and redwoods. Headed back via French trail, which requires some uphill initially and then a few portions of up and downhill, nothing too strenuous. Overall a good hike, just get there early.

River trail is flat and a pleasant walk. French trail portion is strenuous but fun. Lots of foilage and shade

good hike to take in the views. very little shade so a hat and sunscreen a must. I actually parked and started at Inspiration point then took the curry trail to seaview. inspiration point has more parking and an additional restroom. very warm morning. i started at 8:00 am but wished i had started earlier. parking lots fill up fast at either start but did notice people parking along the side of the road.

bring your hiking shoes! very steep uphill/downhill. overall great trail, and beautiful views

People do not keep their dogs on a leash even though the rules are to do so!!!

Other than being unsure of people’s dogs level of friendliness while walking, the experience is nice. I love the views of the redwoods and the creek. Oh and the lady bug habitat.

Lots of bathrooms along the trails.

A great hiking experience, minus the dogs not on a leash.

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