Explore the most popular birding trails in Mount Tamalpais Watershed with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Very nice, kid friendly trail.

on Cataract Falls Trail

hiking
1 day ago

Great trail with beautiful waterfalls along the way. Spring is great time go. Some parts of the trail are narrow, wouldn’t recommend children. If you start the loop at alpine lake, you will hit lots of stairs and uphill so itll be tough at first but coming back will be easier. Watch out for loose rocks on the ground.

Went the day after a rain storm a couple months ago. Awesome hike

Trails maintained well. Great views and numerous waterfalls from the get-go. Trail stats says 7.7 miles but my Garmin Fenix 5x says we did 10 miles.

Come early if you want to find parking close to the trailhead as it gets crowded later in the day.

great hike today, still some water flow in the falls, my Fitbit said 10.5 miles. went clockwise parking at Rock Spring. trailhead starting with the Cataract trail, lunch break at Alpine Lake which was a nice unexpected surprise to see on this hike. Nice and cool in the trees even though we worked up a sweat on the Kent trail!

Took this hike yesterday and although we hoped for warm, it was quite foggy and cool. Don’t be scared off by the Rock Springs parking lot - we thought the trail would be packed. True the downward hike was busy but once we turned off at alpine lake and came back up - and I do mean up- the Kent trail we ran into only a few folks.
The wildflowers, especially iris, were out in full force, Got to see a little newt and a frog!
Great variety of flora and geology - a most highly recommended hike!
From a 57 year old and 23 year old daughter!

hiking
18 days ago

Absolutely love this hike! It's easy and very little traffic. Goes through lots of different kinds of landscapes. The views of the lake are stunning.

Great trail. Lightly trafficked this past Sunday. Fairly easy terrain. Lots of ticks. Found at least 12 of them on my pup. It’s tick season, not much I can do about it.

Great easy hike for families - varied landscape - beautiful pasture hills with wildflowers and then magical redwood forest. Good for dogs too

Hiked clockwise around Lagunitas and then Bon Tempe. Hiking time 2 hours.

Awesome trail. Lots of elevation changes and things to see. Def a work out.

Very beautiful hike. Did the loop to the lake and back to the cataract falls. Is a 9.2 miles, took us about 6 hours, stopping for lunch, pictures and just enjoying the beautiful view.

Steep for a while at the beginning. The fire road and second road has a bunch of bikes. Not that great until fern trail. Then at the top there’s a parking lot so not too secluded. Eh ok hike. There are others.

Arrived at the trail head at 7:30am the place was empty. It took us five hours, my Fitbit said it was 10.2 miles. it probably took an extra hour or so because i was doing some photography. Anyway it is longer than eight miles. We only passed a couple people along the way, it was Awesome. We seen a Pilated Woodpecker. Got back to the waterfalls portion of the loop around 1pm and it was a zoo. People drinking, playing music, it was crowded. had to wait in line to get down some portions, Just get there early, it's worth it.! Amazing hike, one of the bay areas best.

hiking
30 days ago

Went hiking on this trail today with some friends. Absolutely beautiful trail. Great views of the falls. It’s a clime to the top, but worth the workout. A fare amount of stairs. Lots of wild flowers. Shaded in most areas. Dog friendly.

- 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.

Amazing waterfalls and pools all along the cataract falls trail

We loved this hike!! The amphitheater and West Point inn make excellent resting spots and there are plenty of bathrooms along the way. Gorgeous views the ENTIRE way. Good mix if forest and meadow. So many beautiful water falls when we went last week. It says 8.8 but we found 2 extra miles somehow. Can’t wait to do this again!!!

A bit rough on the old joints but awesome hike.

Did it in reverse and glad I did. Was steep going down so I can only imagine what it was going up. Pretty lush right now. But lots of ticks. Be sure to check yourself and your animals.

hiking
1 month ago

Positives:
-good exercise with the incline on the way out and the way back.
-beautiful views
-waterfalls are always a treat
Negatives:
-we went on a nice spring day with a high temp of ~70, it was very warm with direct sun and only a small portion of the trail in the shade
-traffic through Fairfax was a nightmare. Took us an hour from Novato to get to the trailhead
-no bathrooms, few places to step off the trail with privacy

Wonderful views of the ocean and SF.

Awesome trail. Great scenery. Dogs allowed. So many little streams and great waterfalls. Looking forward to doing it again.

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

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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

Wonderful hike in Mt. Tam with gorgeous views! We did the full loop, starting clockwise and took a little over 4 hours including snack stops and time at the summit. Wildflowers are popping up all over the place, and there was a ton of wildlife viewing as well! We’ve had a lot of rain recently, so waterproof footwear is a must until runoff is calmer. Overall a great morning!

Parked at Rock Springs. Hiked counterclockwise - down Simmons-Bernstein-Kent to Alpine Lake then back up on Helen Market-Cataract Falls. Good water flow after the recent rains. Hiked: 8.4 miles, 4 hours.

Good for trail running...

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