Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

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
15 days ago

Hiked up from the school clockwise. If you’re looking at the school there is a wooden fenced trail to the left which goes behind the school. From there you can find several trails.

Trail is pretty steep with switchbacks for the first 30 minutes or so.

Saw about 20 lizards in the first mile or so.

The first mile has some tall grasses so make sure to wear pants.

The trail itself was great - could use some better signage though.

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.

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.

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!!!

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.

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.

Yep we did it in the pouring rain & it was still spectacular! The falls were fanastic & all the trails were streams. Its going to be amazing for the next few days while all the water rushes down. Beautiful scenery & habitats & plenty of newts hiking with us.

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.

Great trail. Like many others in the area, fairly shaded. I went clockwise and there was a steady 30 minute climb before leveling out. Not hard. Easy to join other trails and venture out. Trust the map, it's right. There are a couple of times you'll question it.

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike/nature walk! There’s limited parking on the residential street at the trailhead. Gorgeous view of the mountains at the start, then a steep decline into the valley where it gets shadier. The trail goes along the creek and there’s a very pretty waterfall at one point. We did about 2.8 miles total which took an hour and a half. Very nice scenery, will definitely return!

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

One of the most gorgeous hikes in the Bay Area. The water is really flowing right now! Also, climb up the hill across from the parking lot for a truly epic view of the Bay Area.

hiking
2 months ago

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

Really nice hike, lots of steep uphills with rewarding end at the lake- went on a Saturday in February and there was no one else at the lake when we got there. We did somehow take a wrong turn on the way back and ended up walking back to the trailhead via the road, so take care with directions.

Went here on Sunday 03/11 with my husband. Hike ended up being closer to 9 miles, but was very enjoyable! I could see it starting to get busier near the falls around 130-2pm but still a very nice hike. Trail is well maintained, and mostly shady.

So we started our hike going to Cataract Falls, on a weekday. We didn’t see too many people, and by the time we got there the hike wasn’t too difficult. Lots of going downstairs. We kept pushing to go to the lake, and made it. But that’s when the trail became difficult! And we had already hiked 5 miles at this point and it was close to 2:30. We had to summon all our strength to push up hill the last half of the hike, which beame the hard part! At the end, my fit bit said we did over 10 miles! It was worth it and a great accomplishment, but frustrating that the site said 7.5 miles.

This is a great hike. We went after the rainy season and the falls were fairly big. I will come back here again. We did it in February, it gets chilly. A softshell or a light jacket should be enough to keep you warm. Lots of people, you won't be alone on this trail.

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

Watch your feet. Almost stepped on rattler in middle of fire road. Very comfortable rocks at falls for lunching....

Beautiful trail through what felt like an ancient forest - old craggily trees covered in moss. Varied route with meadows, views and forest. Would recommend it. Good for kids too

Absolutely gorgeous trail. Def go right at the start like other people say. However I got done at 8.5 miles not the 7 miles it says but also not the 12 plus miles other people are claiming. I also got 1900ft elevation climb whereas others seem to be different. Weird. If you go right you hit the meadow first then the alpine and then you hit a stunning stream and bridge before you hit the falls. Before the falls I only met one person along the trail. After the falls I met a lot of people. Highly recommended but get there early to avoid the crowds.

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