Cataract Falls Trail is a 3.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bolinas, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 3.3 miles Elevation Gain: 1,082 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

The watershed remains open to the public, with some restrictions, for recreational use daily from sunrise to sunset. The recent county health order prohibits vehicles and parking at the watershed, with the exception of people with disabilities who have the required disability placards or license plates for their vehicles. Parking for those with disabilities is available at our Sky Oaks parking lot. While the watershed remains open, visitors must comply with social distancing requirements of at least 6 feet. All volunteer programs that take place on the watershed have been canceled until further notice. Cataract Falls is one of the most popular falls trails in Marin County within the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a great hike with scattered cascading waterfalls along the entirety of the trail. The trailhead is located off of Bolinas Fairfax Road, just past Alpine Lake. The falls are reached by Cataract Trail starting from Bolinas Fairfax Road. The trail follows Cataract Creek north. The trail shortly starts to climb uphill through a shaded forest and crosses the flowing creek several times. You will eventually reach Laurel Dell picnic area. If you continue on the trail past the picnic area, it will start to descend towards the upper falls. At the junction of Helen Markt Trail and Cataract Trail there is a nice pool where you can stop, take a break, and enjoy the great views. Although this is a short hike, it has a decent amount of elevation gain and is a good workout. If you wish to extend your hike, you can also start from the Rock Spring Trailhead. The best time to visit is after rainfall when the waterflow is heavier.

hiking
1 hour ago

Is this open? Apparently Marin county opened up May 18.

closed
6 days ago

Fairfax-Bolinas road closed at both ends from Fairfax and from the coast. Couldn't get to falls today. May 24 2020

6 days ago

We drove here from Solano county yesterday and the access road was closed. Super disappointed.

hiking
closed
7 days ago

We drove all the way from east bay to find that the approach roads are closed for vehicles and there is no parking by the road closure. If you can bike all the way then I guess you can go. We had to return from the closure point :(

hiking
11 days ago

Does anyone know if this place is open?

hiking
11 days ago

I went on 5/16 and it was open. This is definitely one of my favorite hiking places so beautiful.

hiking
21 days ago

closed at every possible entry.

closed
21 days ago

Just visited today, it looks like it's closed for the time being!

hiking
22 days ago

I am also wondering if it has reopened. I want to go there tomorrow. Google says it’s still open. Anyone has been there recently?

closed
22 days ago

we had to turn around because the road was closed to get to the trail

hiking
rocky
22 days ago

Does anyone know if it has re-opened?

hiking
27 days ago

I liked this trail it was soothing,not the hardest but it was still nice to enjoy and walk while taking pictures and enjoying the view.

hiking
1 month ago

I drove 2 hrs and it was closed they didn’t allow anyone to park anywhere and the people that did park down the street off road got tickets. So I’m waiting for COVID-19 to be over with so I can come back. People were still entering and existing out of it though.

1 month ago

Nice hike that we did in the late summer so we didn't get to see all of the falls flowing. A little challenging due the steepness. a lot of places to stop along the way for lunch/break. Overall we enjoyed it.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail, went on Nov 2019!

hiking
off trail
over grown
1 month ago

hiking
closed
1 month ago

Closed right now due to COVID.

hiking
1 month ago

Closed due to covid19

hiking
1 month ago

Anybody know if it is open or closed do to the virus?

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome. Hike. Favorite in the bay. 4.8 miles to lunch area. Great bridges and scenery.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

Lots of waterfalls and pools along the whole trail and convenient turn off points to sit and enjoy them. It's uphill nearly the whole way so be prepared to climb a decent amount of steps.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike. Crest the top to bolinas ridge for views of Stinson & Pacific

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Went on a rainy Saturday morning; got there first, the crowds come in the afternoon. Everything felt moist, shaded, and beautifully green with moss everywhere. The hike up was great we picnicked at Laurel Dell and took the High Marsh loop trail down. Slippery, so make sure you wear good anti slip shoes.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

This is a fantastic trail and incredibly beautiful. The trail is very well maintained. I would suggest getting there early as parking can be sketchy/difficult + lots of people later in the day. The trail can be narrow at certain points and it makes it challenging to navigate if you’re sharing it with loads of people. Lots of stairs, waterfalls almost the entire hike. Will definitely do again. My one complaint is to the instagrammer/influencers: please don’t hog up all the waterfall areas trying to get multiple photos of yourself. I saw this a lot and while I’m so happy people are getting out into nature, it’s really annoying for others who want to partake in the beauty too but have to wait too long while you “get the shot”. Just be aware & courteous. Thanks :)

hiking
2 months ago

Lot of stairs! No big waterfall at the end, you hike along the cataract fall the whole trail. Over all good hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail!

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Very steep. Lots of stairs as you’re doing the hike. Also lots of dogs! Great workout. Took us two hours with breaks to go out and back using Cataract Falls trail to get to the Laurel Dell picnic area.

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