Morses Gulch Trail is a 1.6 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Stinson Beach, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 1.6 km Elevation Gain: 42 m Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly


nature trips


bird watching



Uncrowded hike to a 50 ft. waterfall Morse's Gulch Falls is a hidden beauty. Get away from the crowds on all the popular hiking trails of the Mt. Tam area. This waterfall is just a couple miles north of Stinson Beach, and is not too difficult to reach, yet you'll likely have it all to yourself. As you walk up the trail, you will find it is overgrown in places, with plenty of stinging nettles. The trail is not too difficult to follow, however, and leads to a great overlook of the 50 ft. waterfall in about a half-mile from the highway. You can scramble down a steep bank to get to the base of the falls for a different perspective. This waterfall is best seen in the winter or early spring months.

off trail
over grown
3 months ago

2nd try. 1st 100 yards are the hardest, overgrown, trees down, lots of vines. On the upper part of the trail some good sole has installed hand ropes to assist in the last part of the trail to the falls. Be careful the ropes may not be secure. I recommend: Heavy clothes,No shorts or short sleeves, heavy gloves, glasses or safety glasses, heavy hat or bike helmet, a very good walking stick and maybe and extra rope. Bring a camera and maybe a GPS (real one).

Tue Aug 14 2018

Wonderful hike! As someone who loves romping through the wilderness this was so fun. The trail is pretty hard to find, but look for the call box, and if you start walking through some fallen trees and find a steel cable, you’ve got it. I parked in the dirt pull off right before the call box. At the end of the redwoods, you night lose the trail, but if you head towards the more open yellow grass, you should be able to find it again. Went in August and the waterfall was still going nicely! The water was cold but nice to dip feet in. Didn’t get any poison oak/stinging nettle on me, but could definitely see it, so just be careful! There are ropes to help you where it gets steep, and I almost fell a few times. Just go slow and be careful! Definitely recommend.

Tue Jun 19 2018

The reviews are pretty spot on. This is a very off beaten path trail that seems unkept. We did a lot of bobbing, weaving, and low crawling around overgrown plants and fallen trees. The trailhead is at the call box and plenty of parking on the road but a little scary walking with dogs on a road where cars are driving pretty fast and almost no shoulder. Once we got going it was serene to have the trail to just us. The creek was very popular with my dogs. I never made it to the waterfall at the end because the trail up to it was getting a little sketch and didn’t want my dogs falling off the cliff so we turned around and just played in the water. I rate this a 3 because it was rough and almost like just walking randomly in the woods and not a real trail. But if you’re into that kind of hiking this one is for you! It really helps to keep your recording GPS in this app open to ensure you’re tracking correct because it is very unkept and not a clear trail.

Fri Jul 07 2017

This hike is a game of try-to-find the trail. Look for the call box and lower your head through the brambles, and step over a steel cable. It is overgrown and takes many twists and turns. It is a bit scary trying to find where the trail is because it is not always clear. There are lots of fallen trees to navigate and you may hit your head on some of them like me. You also may get stinging nettle through your jeans, or even slip and fall on a creek rock and hit your knee while your shoe gets totally soaked. Apparently there is a waterfall at the end... we never made it. All in all, it was kind of fun if you're seeking more of an adventure than a stroll.

Mon Mar 13 2017

This was an enjoyable hike. The trailhead is hard to find. It begins in the cut out with the telephone call box. There is a tree fallen over a cable but it isn't visible from the road. Once you get about 25yards past the cable, the gravel trail is pretty apparent. The last portion of the trail does get very narrow with a steep drop off but there are cables for you to hold on to. We really enjoyed ourselves and we didn't see another person our entire hike.

Fri Jan 20 2017

Trail head is overgrown so pull your vehicle into the next turnout about 50 yards north of the trailhead. You'll see a fallen mossy tree and metal cables it fell on. That's the new trail head. Head west and you'll run into the creek and trail. Trail is semi overgrown and the last hike up to the falls is sketchy but doable carrying two small dogs lol. Extremely beautiful hike.

Mon Jun 30 2014

So it's obviously been a while since someone reviewed this little hike, something I neglected to notice when rallying my friends to do it with me before heading down to the beach. I'm ALL FOR adventure and following a not so beaten path but in the three years since it was last reviewed there isn't really even a path to follow. Like others said the directions are extremely accurate and the "trailhead" is really just a divot in the shrubbery along the road. The trail is "blocked off" by a thick metal wire but we continued on anyways. There were tons of fallen trees, foliage, vines and cobwebs pleading with us to turn back but we really wanted to see what there was to see! It was supposed to be a very short hike anyways... There is no upkeep on the trail and YOU WILL encounter poison oak in a BIG WAY. It's everywhere and I mean everywhere. The creek itself is lovely and the trees are always gorgeous until you're trying to thrash through the brush only to find you've thrashed your way into stinging nettles. THAT WAS THE WORST. But we sucked it up and kept clambering. Only to feel like we had gone a long ways following a deer path and found no waterfall, not even a trickle. Disappointing to say the least especially since there are SO MANY other fantastic hikes in the area. Don't waste your time with this little guy!

Sat Mar 05 2011

The directions on this site were dead on !! one thing to add to them is there is a call box right at the entrance to the trail and is easily seen from hwy. 1. As mentioned before the trail isnt very well maintained but just follow the stream if you cant find the trail and you will find the waterfall with no problem. The trail takes you under and litterally thru a split tree which I thought was pretty cool. This was definately worth the trip, and the views on the drive there were incredible as well.