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- Parking: very easy and plentiful, even arriving late on a sunny Saturday morning; park near the trail start
- Scenery: amazing, and quite varied! Cataract Trail is almost completely wooded and you'll see small waterfalls. Near the middle of the hike, you'll enter a beautiful expanse of green hills and flowers; it looked a little like the Wizard of Oz.
- Wildlife: we saw deer and a sleeping owl during the trail :) No birds.
- Bathrooms: there was 1 portable potty at the parking lot
- Shoes: the inclines were mostly stairs, so regular exercise shoes worked fine for me. The declines / inclines were not gravely / sandy.

Nice, pretty, easily accessible trail. Great weather when I went, so there were lots of dogs, hikers and mtn bikers were on the trail.

Beautiful mostly quiet trail with many different kinds of wild flowers. Sunny but with some redwoods and shade at times. Easy, not much up hill if you go clockwise. The trail can be a bit hard to follow with the signposts and map but we managed to find our way around. Take a map at the parking lot! Lots of dog owners and their dogs!

A bit rough on the old joints but awesome hike.

Probably my favorite hike in the Bay Area

start at the bottom near the reservoir and work your way up. fun little challenge nice waterfall the whole hike.

hiking
14 days ago

Such a beautiful hike. well worth the views!!! I am in no way fit.... just started hiking recently and actually found this one pretty easy.....

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful scenery of the waterfalls (post rain). Feels like you’re in a rainforest or jungle. Parked at Rock Springs (watershed) trail head & hiked all the way down to Alpine Lake & back. Total was a little over 8 miles w/ a slight detour on the way back. Be cautious that parts of the trail are unmarked. But if you stay along Cataract Creek you’ll be fine. Lots of steps, great workout. Halfway there is a picnic area to rest by the creek which was nice. Lots of shade & my dog enjoyed it as well.

hiking
14 days ago

Arrived at 9 am and completed around noon. Pretty hike with lots of variation of height, steams, and views. Very dog friendly which was nice. Was a bit wet when I went due to recent rainfall which made parts muddy. Was very packed when we left at noon

Steep Ravine is a wonderful rainforest right now!

Gorgeous hike after a big storm. A bit muddy but not too bad. Lots of company—but to be expected since the waterfalls were in full force. There are a ton of steps, uneven, a bit of scrambling in parts. Coming down requires more concentration, going up takes more lung power. A good workout both ways.

Amazing views at the top! Nice short but steep hike. Will definitely do again

Great views. The trail is a bit rough at some points. Easy to slip on large loose rocks

Great little hike. It was my first time there and I really enjoyed it. Although it was mid day and a great number of others.

Go early by 8 or 9 to have the trail to yourself. We hiked all the way to the waterfall without seeing anyone and had the view on the lookout point to ourselves. Started to see a lot more hikers on our way back.

One of the most scenic hikes in the area. The waterfalls are amazing. We took a detour to the top of the hill across the Ridgecrest road to find some breathtaking 360 views down to Stinson beach. It was a perfect spot for lunch. It adds about 1.5 miles to the hike but is absolutely worth it.

A multitude of views, such a beautiful loop! Waterfalls, forest, meadows, lake, marshes. l'd definitely do this one again!

hiking
21 days ago

Started at HQ. easy walk to the Sempervirens Falls. From there we took the Sequoia Trail up the hill and across the 236 to skyline to sea. That was much prettier

All future hikes will be in tough competition with this gorgeous beauty. The first mile (stairs, steps, stairs, steps, etc) is tough but the scenery is breathtaking. Cataract Falls Trail was crowded with both hikers and people strewn about the waterfalls. You can't blame them, it's awesome and peaceful. It's easy to miss the High Marsh Trail when it veers off to the left. (If you hit the open meadow and road, turn back). This is where the loop gets really unique. From deep forest to Alpine meadow to streams and the lake. Other people have said it, fuel up at the lake, you'll want to for the next mile up! That climb at the end makes the return trip down Cataract even more heavenly.

Hiked this trail yesterday, Easter Weekend 2018.
We parked at Stinson Beach and walked to the left of the fire station up Belvedere Ave. and found the trailhead for the Matt Davis Trail. Glad we started here because there is so much incline and stairs in the first two miles. I have knee issues going down hill so I wouldn’t like going down this way. We took the Matt Davis Trail to the Ranger Station and from the Ranger Station down the Steep Ravine Trail which then takes you to the Dip Sea Trail. From the car we clocked it at 8.18 miles. Holiday weekend so the trails were very busy with lots of people. We started at about 10am and the parking lot had tons of spaces open. By the end of the hike around 1:30pm the parking lot was full. Tons of poison oak everywhere so wear long pants and long sleeve. It was foggy so we weren’t able to see the ocean until we hit the dip sea trail. Great views and great hike. I suggest wearing real hiking shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy. Some areas the waterfalls made the trail a bit muddy.

Definitely a good amount of exercise on the way up but it was well rewarded with beautiful views at the numerous pit stops. I highly recommend giving this trail a try. be sure to pack plenty of water.

First mile or so was a climb, but there were beautiful falls to view along the way up. We went in March and there was plenty of water falling.

Arrived around 8:00 am—saw only 1 other person during first couple of hours, but trail crowded going down around 11:00. Ascent along the creek invigorating. Gorgeous views of falls and pools. After split off Cataract, terrain interesting: grassy hillsides, dry forests, marshes, rocky deserts, streams, etc, etc. Moments of utter silence in the forest. Woodpeckers. Frogs. Mosquitoes. Mosses. Ferns. Lots of shade. A fun hike though my Achilles’ tendons are aching!

Loved this loop. We took dipsea and then ended with Matt Davis. Dipsea takes you through grasslands and sweeping views of the beach then steep ravine kicks your butt with its incline. But it’s completely worth it because the waterfalls are really full right now. We stopped for lunch at the ranger station which was ok seating wise. Matt Davis was nice too because it was so diverse and mostly downhill. That trail alone has redwoods, eucalyptus, and grasslands! You get a sample of everything. Also we were crossed by three snakes luckily none were rattlers but still watch your step!

This trail is all stairs but it’s totally worth it for all those amazing falls. Makes me feel like I’m in some sort of fantasy land while still getting a workout

Combine this with Fern Creek and you have a great loop. I agree with the comments on difficulty. The first half is more challenging than the second half

On this trail you get it all... try it out and find out why.

Yes it runs next to a road. But as with most trails in a very busy Big Basin Park? If you want less people and/or cars? Early bird gets the worm :). I made this short little hike on a Monday morning at 8 am and I got to enjoy the falls and only saw one other person in the hour I was there. I was already back to my car at 11 am and planning my next trail as I noticed the crowds and car noise finally beginning to build

hiking
29 days ago

Large portion of the trail runs alongside the road which takes the serenity out of the hike whenever a car drives by. The second half after passing Shadowbrook trail was much better with road noise. Overall the hike was pleasant, and relaxing. Small detour to see the falls. I would rate this as an easy hike.

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