Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

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

Nice and easy. Lots of birds and butterflies.

hiking
17 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 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.

I loved the differing terrain on this hike. I agree with other reviewers, it felt a little more difficult than an “easy” hike considering how many stairs were involved...one of the best hikes I’ve been in the Bay Area!

hiking
29 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.

One of the best locations for many great trails! The best way to get here is going to the 'Mt Tamalpais Watershed' where you pay an $8 parking fee. There is no attendants but a pay machine that you can pay cash or card. Very convenient. There is a porta-potty if you have to go.

Unfortunately, there is no available map for your use. Good thing I used AllTrails' the know where to go exactly! There is plenty of parking even on a weekend but the parking is on gravel. This hike sees both ‘Bon Tempe lake’ and on the other side is ‘Alpine Lake'. The trail we took, took us to both.

Actually, this trail was awesome to take even if to me this was considered moderate and NOT easy; about 5+ miles loop. It takes you to many small waterfalls and rivers, big trees, large logs, bridges and stairs were killer! Don't come here if you've partied the night before. I totally regret it as it was killer on my body! Hahaha...

Some trails can be deceiving but you have to go through rocks, bridges and water beds so make use of those waterproof hiking shoes! Because of the waterfalls, water puddles and lake, beware of ticks! There is a lots of them but you can avoid by wearing long pants and socks if you can. Check your clothes before entering your car.

Most of the trail is shaded but towards the end was open space. Many of the trails are very narrow for one person. I believe this is one of the most beautiful most scenic trails I have gone through so far.

I would definitely come back here to do it again! It's a great workout! The lake is beautiful and pictures don't do justice compared to being there.

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

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.

Good for trail running...

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.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

The majority of the hike is open air with no shade. Once you get to the tree line cover it’s a pretty hike. The Falls still had water. I would recommend once you see the first waterfall continue hiking down and around. The really pretty view is further down with multiple pools and falls. The dogs on leash rule is real. Park rangers peruse the area and will issue citations if caught off leash with your fur friends. The trail is also rocky in the beginning.

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

hiking
2 months ago

Amazingly magical place, especially on a nice day after a rainy season. It was just the perfect amount of challenging, and the scenery didn't let you get bored even for a minute. Go early in the morning if you prefer a more secluded hike; after 12pm this trail gets pretty busy (although, not overwhelmingly). Hubby and I actually decided to hike from the start of the Cataract Trail near the lake all the way to the beginning of Rock Springs Trailhead, and we found it to feel more complete. I'd suggest parking at the parking lot near the entrance to Rock Springs Trailhead and then walking all the way until the entrance to Cataract Trailhead. Have fun exploring!

hiking
2 months ago

Easy enough hike, uphill then downhill, waterfall at the end is a nice treat! Beautiful views at the top!

Beautiful this time of year! Great hike and workout.

Love it!! Best to come after the rain !!

Easy, kid-friendly, watch out for lots of mountain bikers/runners. Didn’t want to wait for parking, we just parked off of glenwood Avenue (about 2 street parking spots). Did this trail with two kids in tow (3 and 5 year old). Not one complained during the 3ish miles (including how far we parked from the trailhead). Plenty of shade when you get up to Gertrude-ord trail. Lots of benches.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a beautiful get away but be prepared to work for it because there are a ton of stairs but mini waterfalls at every corner it was so peaceful me and my friends got there super early in fact first ones in the parking area by the time we left it was flooded with cars

This is one of my favorite trails in the Bay Area. Starting just past the dam at alpine lake, the trail takes you along one of the streams that feed the lake. You gain 1000+ elevation, but the beauty of the cascading water next to you the whole way takes your mind off the work of climbing the stairs and inclines. The trail has many trees to provide shade, and the area has a lot of ferns, moss, and other vibrant foliage to please the eye. To extend the hike, I recommend heading west at laurel dell fire road, cross ridgecrest boulevard, take coastal trail to Matt Davis, then up to pantoll. Take old mine trail to rock spring and head back down cataract trail.

Nothing to write home about.

Easy, quickly, refreshing

hiking
2 months ago

Wonderful trail! Parking is very limited so get there early. Lots of elevation gain but trail is well marked & maintained so take your time and enjoy the surroundings. Absolutely stunning.

hiking
2 months ago

Solid hike! Surprisingly solid views of Oakland, an unidentified lake, and sweeping hills along the way. Waterfall was weak while we were there but keep going down afterwards for a walk among some big trees

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful but crowded on weekends the only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 stars. Go on a weekday if you can for peace and serenity. Mossy and green year round. Mostly shaded With lots of ups and downs.

Gorgeous view of the waterfall, and it’s always fun to hike alongside waterways in Northern California! Tons and tons of stairs, so be prepared to get a workout. We continued on past the falls for about 2 miles, with even more stairs and turned back after.

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