Matt Davis Trail to Cataract Trail

HARD 13 reviews

Matt Davis Trail to Cataract Trail is a 12.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Stinson Beach, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
12.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3156 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

trail running

lake

river

views

waterfall

no dogs

trail running
4 months ago

Awesome trail running. Very scenic and beautiful.

hiking
8 months ago

A beautiful hike that passes through three environments in quick succession. The hike begins on the well-trafficked Matt Davis Trail, which snakes its way up the western side of Mount Tam. The trail is heavily forested and follows a medium stream (with a few waterfalls). The trail itself is composed of dirt, wooden stairs, and stone stairs; it's mostly a natural, single-track trail that is perfect for hiking.

The trees suddenly disappear on the Coastal Trail as we were greeted by beautiful views of Stinson Beach and a remarkably green landscape. The walk along the ridge is somewhat leisurely without much elevation gain or loss, and there are plenty of picturesque moments (aided by how green and lush everything is due to the recent rainfalls).

The trail down to Cataract Falls is established, well-trafficked, and beautiful. There are four waterfalls/cascades before Cataract Falls, each of which you can see up close from the trail. It winds its way down through an oak/redwood forest and is complemented by the roaring Cataract Creek the entire time. Cataract Falls were flowing considerably when I went (after a rainfall) and provided for a memorable view.

My father and I took the Willow Camp Fire Road down (instead of the typical out and back), and to our surprise, it was mainly a single-track trail. The views as we descended were great, particularly because the day was clear. We finished the hike with a bit of roadwalking back to the car.

Overall, a remarkable hike that provides you with the opportunity to see Cataract Falls (even with the road closure). Have fun!

hiking
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