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Well marked and groomed, plenty of up and down throughout balanced by some nice flat areas as well as benches to sit and rest occasionally. We went on a Sunday afternoon after church and the parking lot was full. Gift shop is open near trailhead and they have a few animals you can take your kids in there to see.

The perfect escape from the city! It was 90° today but we could take refuge in the abundant shade and water so it worked well! I recommend coming out on a weekday to avoid the traffic. We will be back for sure!

Great time. I took my boys (11, 9, and 7) and hiked all 11 miles in 4.5 hours. They had a great time. Make sure to bring GALLONS of bug spray and wear long pants or high socks for all the poison ivy. they do a good job taking care of it and it was a really nice get-away for us dudes!

Extremely difficult for beginners but beautiful and breathtaking views of the Fall

beautiful hike

The best hiking experiences ever! Took 5 hours total (2.5 to get to the top, .5 hours exploring the top and having a snack and 2 hours for the return). Included 10 minutes when trail was blocked to remove a falling boulder.

Nice but exausting

hiking
6 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)

Don't be like us - check the weather beforehand so you don't end up hiking here when it's 100° outside

Mattheisen State Park is less well-known than it’s nearby counterpart, Starved Rock, so there is usually less of a crowd. While the trails are not as well marked, the Lake Falls Dam Waterfall is breathtaking and can be seen from the bridge at the top and down below at the base. This is one of my favorite areas to hike. Definitely a must see if you are in the area.

it was a good hike and you get a workout, especially with the hill climb. I went clockwise, but I think in the future I'd do it counterclockwise. There was a lot of smoke in the distance because of the fires.

Amazing trail. This was my first coastal hiking, and as the other reviewers said here, it is important to download a tide chart and understand how to read it as there are two 4-mile stretches of impassible zones.

I found low tide easier to hike because the sand was more packed, and I could avoid more of the cobblestone type rocks. The northern impassible zone would likely be truly impassible in my experience (I travelled at full moon and very light surf and winds) - I hit that part at receding tide and even then some areas were iffy.

The impassible zone south of Miller flat may be doable in high tide with calm conditions, but I wouldn’t risk it.

The views, solitude and wildlife make this trail one of my all time favorites. I bought a map, rented a bear canister and got a free tide chart from the lost coast adventures shuttle.

Please note that there is no cell service in Settlers Cove and anywhere along the coast - so plan in advance.

hiking
16 days ago

Various trails at this park

hiking
16 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.

Visible trails, beautiful and peaceful. Can she a short trail walk or a long one.

Cons:
- 5+ hour drive to Bay Area
- $80 shuttle ride not including tip
- Walking long stretches on wet, unstable rocks
- Lots of poison ivy
- Had to climb portions of rock that are very dangerous where tide came in too high
- Walking at an angle in sand that is not packed down at all, caused foot injury for me
- Lot of people backpacking the trail
- Tides coming in and out very stressful, reaching and finishing impassable zones challenging
- Zero marking on trail
- Bear footprints on beach
- Very difficult to be rescued in this area and is dangerous enough to be a concern
- no cell service
Pros:
- Beautiful scenery
- Some private campsites

My boyfriend and I are avid backpackers and completed this trail in 2 nights/3 days in mid July.
I did not enjoy it and found myself looking down for a lot of the trail trying to stay balanced on the rocks. I personally do not find walking on rocks to be enjoyable when backpacking. My boyfriend liked the trail because of the challenge. For me, it was too difficult to enjoy. I thought this trail would be mostly walking on sand and did not factor in the rock aspect or stress with the impassable tide zones. There were a lot of people hiking the trail and I was hoping to be a little more isolated than that. There was one very sketchy portion of the trail we encountered on the first day where the water on the beach was too high so we had to climb up and over a portion of rocks that was very dangerous with some other people who took the same shuttle as us. (note: this was not at high tide) The one upside was that the scenery was beautiful. However, I advise really knowing what you are getting into, this is not an easy or moderate trail by any means.

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.

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!

Stair master 8000! This trail is very difficult and left me exhausted when completed. With that being said, it was one of the most rewarding hikes. Great views and amazing lookout areas. We even swam in the upper Falls river although it is not recommended and can be dangerous. Pack lots of water and be prepared for constant inclines, switchbacks and steps. The footing can be tough so be safe and conquer this difficult hike.

- the boosk

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.

Took a. Our Cub Scouts on this hike, very warm day and you hike in and out of shade. A cool dip in the lake makes it worthwhile, nice campgrounds, too. We stayed the night and made a great weekend of it!

Unrelenting and rigorous uphill switchbacks but well worth the glorious views up top. Take a break at Columbia Rock and brace yourself for a rocky path for at least a couple more hours (moderate pace). Recommend hiking poles and plenty of water, 3L minimum per person. Start early and take bug spray if you descend around sunset. Hard climb but well worth it, you’ll see!

Great trail with plenty of hills for exercise. All Trails with my phone GPS said the trail was 3.1 miles, not 4

ENDLESS. SWITCHBACKS. I really enjoyed this hike because I don't really have any beef with switchbacks. But once you start scaling the granite face, there's no shade or cloud cover, so if you're hiking in the dead of summer (like we were) you need to make sure you have a lot of water (2-3 L/person). The view from the top was great and it was really cool to be able to get close to the fall (though, that was a bit scary to me).

A beautiful trip! If you’re decently in shape and have good balance, you can do this trip in 2 full days, but it’s nice to have some extra time to soak in the beauty.

Definitely wear waterproof hiking boots so you don’t roll your ankle (you probably will anyways. There is barely any elevation gain, but you will be walking on the slanted beach, which feels odd after many miles of repetitive strain. Bring layers!

You need a permit and a bear canister. We saw bear prints in the sand. There aren’t many trees hang your food from.

The impassible zones are indeed impassible at high tide! Make sure you check the tide chart, or get ready to be very wet. We went about an hour after a moderately high high tide and were chased by many waves. It was very fun, but know what you’re getting into.

A lot less strenuous than I thought. Nice three day trip!

Rigorous uphill climb no reprieve but the views are beautiful.. do not forget to climb down from top to view the falls. This trail is very rocky with lots of rocks ... so adding to the degree of difficulty to the steep gradient throughout . start the hike early as the heat in summer and even late spring gets you..Parking is an issue so get dropped off or take the early park bus and get dropped off.. It is hard hike up... Round trip back s close to 7.8 Miles not 5

Up up and away. Phenomenal views of the valley throughout most of the vertical hike. With a pack it was pretty grueling, but everyone made it with 3 liters of water each. Everyone was quick to refill at the top and chug once it was ready. The dip in the river was extremely rewarding. Well worth the effort for the views. A very busy trail with a lot of day hikers, but that’s the valley so nothing out of the ordinary there.

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this trail as part of a backpacking overnight to Eagle Peak. This is a rough trail to do with packs because there is so much elevation gain in a relatively short time period, but the views are beautiful!! We started on the trail at 4pm (8pm sunset in July) and it was really nice to be in the shade for most of the way. Definitely would recommend this as an afternoon hike to avoid sun on the trail.

Parking was very difficult, as can be expected for Yosemite Valley in the summer.

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