Lake Lagunitas, Bon Tempe and Alpine Lakes, Cataract Falls to Mount Tam Loop

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Mount Tamalpais Watershed

Lake Lagunitas, Bon Tempe and Alpine Lakes, Cataract Falls to Mount Tam Loop is a 15.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Greenbrae, California that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length15.1 miElevation gain3,169 ftRoute typeLoop
BackpackingHikingMountain bikingNature tripsRunningDog friendlyLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeRockyScramble
Description
Waypoints (0)

This loop passes through the following routes: Tucker Cutoff, Tucker Trail, Eldridge Grade Fire Road, Lakeview Fire Road, Rock Springs Lagunitas Road, Shady Side Trail, Kent Fire Road, Kent Trail, Helen Markt Trail, Cataract Trail, Mickey O'Brien Trail, Simmons Fire Road, Laurel Dell Fire Road, Northside Trail, International Trail, Lakeview Trail, Verna Dunshee Trail and Indian Fire Road.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (83)
Photos (5,209)
Activities (77)
Completed (242)
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Christos Tikelis
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Hiking

Sneakers. Poles for the single track haul up top at the beginning. Clockwise. First 3 miles is straight up but with poles it was a nice way to get into second wind especially if you skip the switchbacks for the tight single track going straight up. Just as I was a little tired in the middle at Cataract Falls the decline got a little faster or maybe a nice third wind. Keep your eyes on that blue dot!—lots of places to lose a turn on the path. Most of the way is shady.

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Zsa-Zsa N
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 30, 2021
HikingGreat!Off trailPrivate propertyRockyScramble

Lakes of Mt. Tam Watershed Pt I (Kentfield, CA)

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Joseph Hufnagel l
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Hiking

Holy s**t it turned into 16.9 miles for us. but completely worth it. take your time. and enjoy

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Lauren Patterson
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HikingGreat!

This is incredible hike! I did it clockwise (highly recommend doing it this way... like many others). So many beautiful things to see. I would like to however mention I believed this was an acceptable trail to backpack from the backpacking tag and comments regarding backpacking the trail. Let me tell ya .... there are MANY "no camping signs" and I must say I felt pretty ridiculous walking past them with all of my backpacking gear.

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Rachel Graziani
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Hiking

WOW AMAZING. Just like everyone said, go clockwise and keep the map out bc it’s straight uphill in what looks like a creek bed. Start at dawn and get the heart pumping before the next easy 14 miles lol. The entire trail is stunning, views from Mt Tam to incomparable cataract falls trail, passing the beautiful lakes and ending in more serene shady redwoods. 5 stars, cannot disappoint.

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Rocio Ng
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HikingGreat!

Amazing hike, did clockwise, with lots of fun and varying terrain and landscapes! nice and challenging for fairly experienced hikers. some parts on the map were not accurate near my tam summit. needed to follow alternative route

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Brandon Brady
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Mountain biking

Loved it.

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Patrick Sanger
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Hiking

Strong clockwise recommendation

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Kei Hill
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Hiking
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Ursula Llabres
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Hiking

EPIC, need some edits on the “Private” trails as those are a bit dangerous, but easy changes to be made. Beautiful overall.

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Carlie Burkhard
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Hiking

Great trail. Start clockwise - very steep climb at first. Cataract trail was quite busy but other than that it was awesome.

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Cameron Pinkerton
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Hiking

Great trail, 3 lakes, Cataract Falls, Mt. Tam..... but the downhill at the end in the utility company right-of-way is murder on the knees. It was going to be a 5 star trail until the descent.

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Suhaila S
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Hiking
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Andre Pina
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Hiking

Traveled it clockwise. Very steep for the first few miles. A little hard to maintain the path. You will travel through various different trails so pay attention to that. This area is beautiful! With lots of shady area on the trail. Large crowds of people at the cataract TH.. thinned out after that. Lakes where nice! Overall is was great. Not challenging, just long! Start early if you can to avoid walking back to your car in the dark.

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G CA.stillO
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Hiking
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Jeremy Jones
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Hiking
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Patrick Donovan
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Hiking

Went clockwise... trail was as advertised - very steep for the first 2.5 miles to the top of Mt tam, then gently downhill from there. You traverse a lot of trails so need to pay attention to make sure you stay on the right path.

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Tyler Chuck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 19, 2020
Hiking

Truly wonderful loop! Great to see so many trails and parts of the North Bay. Added a quick stop at East Peak, which I’d definitely recommend. Took the trail the opposite direction that it suggests to take the steep section first. The narrow and steeper parts have longer trails that allow you to go around, but I loved the steep. Loved the gradual down after reaching the top. Lots of time near lakes and the path is well maintained.

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Matt Frost
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HikingGreat!

Great trail to the top of Mount Tamalpais and really enjoyed all of the surrounding areas. Much of the trail was in the shade which I loved. It is easy to miss the trail so you really need to navigate well.

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Cj Cj D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 7, 2020
Hiking

Awesome views at the top of Mt. Tam!!! Did the trail clockwise to conquer the height to the top first. Definitely takes longer than what the app indicates and don’t recommend for anyone who isn’t an experienced hiker. Not all of the app trail names match with the posted names and the mileage / time calculation is way off!

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Rob Dolfin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 20, 2020
HikingGreat!

The High Marsh trail is a secluded trail that intersects with Cataract Trail on one end and from the Kent trail on the other.

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Bri S
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Hiking

Go clockwise!!!! The ascent is tough— you’ll need to use your hands occasionally, and those first two miles are killer, but it’s awesome. Mostly downhill from there. Trail was difficult to follow sometimes and the water at East Peak was turned off, so plan your hydration accordingly. Long, but very cool.

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Neringa Willis
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HikingRocky
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Anne C
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HikingOver grownWashed out

TLDR: 4 stars if you find another way of going up/down Mt Tam to save your knees. Completed this in 2 days (July 2-3) backpacking, counterclockwise. Most of the hike was great, very pleasant views of the lakes on day 1, ample shade and nice redwoods in some areas. Rested not far from the cataract. Day 2 started with a very pleasant hike to Mt Tam, slightly drier climate and amazing views on SF. Pretty crowded at the top. HOWEVER: - once on the Verna Dunshee trail, I missed the trail supposed to go down even though I was watching my map at the same time. I doubled back twice, then realised that instead of a marked trail, I literally had to climb down a hidden hole in the bushes. Had to fight my way in as my backpack was too large for the overgrown bushes - the way down from there turned into worse and worse, starting as a very strong slope covered in slippery leaves (I had to catch myself constantly on the bushes’ branches), then turning into pure madness. The « trail » seems to follow pipes going straight down the mountains, I had to climb down large holes where pipes were coming out, slide on the ground in order to avoid falling and just generally suffer. I nearly decided to take the very long way down as the path crossed a fire road twice, but decided against it as I had a time constraint. - While going down, I crossed paths with a few people going up the same way (so starting clockwise) and it seemed just as brutal, I would not recommend it - Once I made it out of this crazy trail, it was a relatively quick hike on a fire road with a strong slope to get to the end/start point. Pay attention to the bikes, that are going very fast Conclusion: Do the hike counterclockwise, then once at Mt Tam East Peak, find an alternative route down or be prepared to slide down a mountain in a straight line in the bushes. Don’t recommend if you have bad knees, and in any case I strongly urge you to bring hiking poles. If you attempt it clockwise, be aware that this first part will make you exhausted right at the beginning of your hike, then the rest of the hike will be mostly downhill (which can be hard on the knees too)

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Ran Oren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 10, 2020
Hiking

Anyone who decides to do this clockwise should take into account that the first 2.3 miles will be particularly challenging as the section disconnects from INDIAN ROAD and continues the sharp climb along the PRIVATE line, cutting the ELDRIGE RADE FIRE ROAD. We did it and it was great fun because it was really really good for improving climbing abilities and also for kids it was kind of an adventure. You have to have strength in your legs and a lot of desire to get to the top of the road, and then everything seems simple. The scenery that opens to what is the TAMALPAIS MOUT is the landscape that probably needs to be a great poet to describe this beauty. It was worth the climb. After a 20 minute break (recommend filling up water in the driveway for the sequel), we proceeded towards Lake ALPINE which most of the time the trail was downhill, the changing scenery of the forest was really interesting, lots of shade (good for summer) and the CATARACT creek was really lovely and well worth a special visit. It is full of places to sit in front of the running water and enjoy the peace of the forest over time. Lake ALPINE is quiet and impressive. At noon there is plenty of shade and access to the water which allowed us to find a good place for lunch for an hour and a half, dipping our feet in the water (not allowed to swim in the lake) and really resting for the rest of the way. If you spend time near the lake on time, there is also a chance that some fish will approach you, or lobster, or a duck. All of this is great fun for kids who after a 9 mile effort really need some rest and a little play. The road to the end of the trail goes along the lakes and connects to the last section that passes through the forest and in the evening there is a good chance of seeing animals coming out in the evening. What is noticeable is that in the tissue paper people are scattered on the roadside and it is not because it fell to them from the bag that they could not resist and did their needs not according to the rules. I've attached a link that can help. https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/hygiene-sanitation.html Tip: Water balance along the trail is critical specially during summer days Personal KPI's (they are my subjective only, for your consideration :-)): 1. Garbage collected along the trail - 0.2 bag :-), [1 bag = 1 gallon, UCL: 1, UDL: 2, Target: 0] 2. Maintenance Level - High (not including PRIVATE part, which is reasonable) (High - Very good condition, Medium - Some small issues, but overall good condition, Low - Major issues that needs improvement)

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