Cataract Falls and Alpine Lake via Simmons Trail

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Mount Tamalpais Watershed

Cataract Falls and Alpine Lake via Simmons Trail is a 5.4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Mill Valley, 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.

Length5.4 miElevation gain1,361 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashkid friendlyFishingHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingForestViewsWaterfall
Description
Waypoints (0)

The trail is very steep, rocky and slippery, but the scenery is beautiful! The waterfalls start about halfway down to the lake, and they are probably the best part about the entire hike. The lake is beautiful too, so make sure to go all the way down.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (337)
Photos (3,665)
Recordings (374)
Completed (1,682)
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Kelly M.
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Pretty trail! Here’s what I would do if I came back: 1) do it in the summer to sit in the various watering holes :) 2) not on a weekend as it was very crowded 3) start at the bottom at the lake and go upward first, then circle back down. Not a huge fan of out and backs, but it was a nice trail with lots of doggos and pretty falls!

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Jenny Hart
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Hiking

The first 3/4 of the trail was pretty mild/moderate, although there are a lot of tree roots to be mindful of. The last quarter gets to moderately difficult, with stairs, stones, and a lot of elevation change. Glad I was there on a weekday, and a not too muddy day. Early March on a Tuesday, for reference, so nice temperate weather, some water in the falls, and less crowded.

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Neil Frendberg
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Hiking
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Judy Benson
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HikingGreat!Muddy
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Kristine Spencer
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Hiking

Too crowded for the seasoned hiker.

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Lorena sanchez
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Hiking

It was gorgeous

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Alison Christopherson
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Hiking

Started form the lake and hiked upward. Great trail for a cloudy day. Go at sunrise to avoid crowds

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Weiwei Levy
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tina Harper
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Josiah Mackenzie
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Hiking

Beautiful trail! A little crowded on the weekend but once you are up there it’s easy to take different trails to avoid crowds

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Stephanie Coleman
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Hiking

Do it!

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Lola Beltran
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Alice Baldridge
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Hiking

This hike is stupid pretty after a rain. Another user complained that the trail is wet but that’s kind of the point of this trail. If it’s not wet there wouldn’t be falls and the falls are lovely. And despite being wet, the trail is mostly rocky and not slippery or muddy. Still, hiking poles to save your knees on the many many stairs are recommended. The view of the ocean at the very top of the trail is tops as well. As an aside the app gets confused in canyons and way over reports my mileage I’ve found. Trail is reported as 5.4 but I recorded 6.9.

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@relentlessaddiction .
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Hiking

What a fun treck! Definitely worth coming here if your in the area. Heavy foot traffic mid day. If you want less foot traffic I suggest starting at 7 I went through about 2 liters of water. I recommend continuing through even further then the AllTrails says to go.. Just before the dam there is a little path off to the right that you can walk down and have and epic lunch veiw. Hope you have a good time! (Bing some good grip shoes & if you want to explore and take some nice photos.. Probably better off with a shoe with great support and good tred

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B Gall
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Hiking
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Namdev Prabhugaonkar
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HikingGreat!
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Eddie Lee
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Not particularly great given the amazing hikes in Marin County. V-shaped elevation curve means we hike down (all the way down) and have to come back up, obviously, which is against my hiking principles. Add to that, trail was wet and crowded on the day we went.

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varun maniar
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Hiking
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Peter Pelham
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Hiking

Some aggressive climbing from Alpine lake up to Laurel Dell. Mostly a shaded hike

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Ashley Lopes
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Hiking
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Lola Beltran
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Hiking
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Veronica Lynch
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HikingGreat!
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Kelly Turner
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Hiking
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Vini Vingert Silveira
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Hiking

Great trail, took us about 4hrs to finish, a lot of steps

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Andrew Twyman
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nanci fleming
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Hiking

Loved this hike - first 1/2 is a pretty, shaded walk through the woods then the second half is a test in agility... good for us older folks, rocks, stairs, pretty waterfalls along the way and lake at end. Return trip uphill is brutal but if you take it slow you will be happy for the workout and can enjoy the sound of the birds and the falls. A couple of benches and picnic areas along the way.... nice way to spend a morning in the woods!

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Safa Faheem
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Hiking

Don't do in the summer. The waterfall was pretty dried up, and it's very hot despite the shade. Ran out of water halfway through, and there was no place to refill, so the uphill back up was brutal and we almost didn't make it. If going to do again, bring 2x the water you think you need (or a water filter). Somehow I ran out even with 85oz in my hydration pack, which either I unusually drank all of it halfway in or some of it spilled. Either way, not great. Lake was pretty though, and views probably could have been more enjoyable on way back if we weren't so focused on our dehydration. I'd probably try this again, but definitely not in the summer. Other general notes: some bathrooms along the way, big parking lot but was full by noon on a Saturday, windy drive up but very pretty views of the ocean, and good signs to guide you but would highly recommend downloading the map and following along because there's multiple overlapping trails. Good luck out there folks!

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Victoria R.
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Megha Murugesh
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HikingMuddyScramble
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