Carson Falls Trail

MODERATE 60 reviews
#17 of 82 trails in

Carson Falls Trail is a 3.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Fairfax, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 3.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,003 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

This trail is mostly on fire roads. Go from the parking area on the Pine Mountain Trail. Then take a left on the Oat Hill Trail. After about 150 yards, there will be a small single track trail on the right. Take this trail, and you'll dip down into a shady set of switchbacks. After about a quarter of a mile you will arrive at the falls. Then return the way you came. The small single track trail down to the falls does not allow bikes. The trail to the lower section of the falls is closed as of February 2019. Hikers can still get to the falls.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike, great waterfall. I've done this hike a number of times and there are a number of different ways you can go. The out-and-back shown on the map is the most popular, but much of it is on the rather exposed and extremely rocky Pine Mountain Fire Road. The trail down to Carson Falls is fairly steep and goes through shade. It's a good hike, best done in winter/spring when the weather is cool and the falls have water in them. Another option is to start at the Alpine Dam and take the much smoother and shaded Kent Pump Fire Road to the trail, then hike uphill to the falls. This one is also out-and-back and while it's less scenic, it's significantly less rocky and exposed.

hiking
muddy
6 months ago

Great hike. Didn’t go to the falls. Just went up to Pine Mountain and back. Parking lot was full. Had to park along the road. Some mud here and there.

muddy
rocky
7 months ago

It was quite muddy when I went in February morning after major rainstorms. No bathroom. It's a good workout, straight up on serpentine fire road. Lots of water flowing. Wear boots. Good view to the East Bay. The little forest area is a treat and provides cover. Be wary of winter rain turning into icy hail. The trail to the lower sections of the falls was closed due to hazardous conditions. I took the narrow streamlike Old Sled trail back to the Bolinas Fairfax road.

hiking
8 months ago

Great outing. The trail is almost entirely fire roads, like most trails in the area. Good amount of parking and great signage. The falls were small but nice. Great for trail running.

hiking
Wednesday, June 06, 2018

There are so many beautiful trails around here that this one is just totally lackluster in comparison. I would rate this trail as moderate, not easy. The climbs are not unsubstantial. Majority of trail is a totally exposed fire road; no shade at all. I did this hike at 8:30 in the morning and it was still extremely hot. Falls area was pretty, as was a brief forested area 3/4 of the way into the hike, but that was about it.

hiking
Sunday, April 15, 2018

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

hiking
Tuesday, April 03, 2018

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.

hiking
Monday, March 19, 2018

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

hiking
Monday, February 26, 2018

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
Monday, February 19, 2018

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

hiking
Sunday, May 21, 2017

Definitely go after it rains-- there's hardly any water otherwise! This is also a more challenging hike than this page makes it seem. The first mile or so is mostly uphill on a fire road with no shade. BRING MORE WATER THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED FOR AN "EASY" 4 MILE HIKE. Especially on a warm day. I ran out about half way through and boy did that suck. The trail down to the falls is nice and shaded, but coming back up it's a decent incline. Also, because no one seems to know this, YOU CANT (AND SHOULDN'T) GO INTO THE POOLS AT THE BASE OF THE FALLS. It's all protected-- endangered frogs breed there. Nonetheless, it was a nice hike! There's also a decent amount of Poison Oak along the trail so beware.

hiking
Sunday, November 06, 2016

easy hike for the whole family

hiking
Monday, September 12, 2016

Great hike. Had the baby on the back for some extra work! Loved it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I did all the free editing I'm going to do...enjoy the hike as is

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