Explore the most popular walking trails near Fairfax with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

beautiful hike

hiking
7 days ago

As an amateur hiker, I found this moderately challenging but satisfying. Lots of incline but with a wonderful view. It was a beautiful scenic route and heavily shaded. Terrain was a bit loose in some areas so the correct shoes for this hike is essential. Parking was a bit confusing and I think we began at the wrong end as we started decline end first. I would not bring my children here however there was a family with small children. Overall, one of my favorites so far, definitely one to do again (in the the spring, when there’s more water)

hiking
18 days ago

This is classified as a moderate hike but for the first time hiker it may be a challenge. There are many sets of steep wooden stairs. Also rock “stairs” to navigate. Dogs on leash are allowed to hike here. I would not recommend taking a dog that is not used to steep rocky hikes. My girl is a good hiker and can handle inclines but this was too difficult for her. We had to take several breaks and she only made it about halfway. Be careful going down as some of the places have gravel that can cause you to slip. Finally I would suggest going in the winter or spring. I went in the summer and though the lake was pretty the waterfalls were almost non existent.

Great hike mostly an incline up stairs and rocks. Great picnic area about 1.4 miles up. Lovely mystic look with a forest feel.

Hiked the loop today (7/29/18). Parking across the dam at the trailhead was limited. Started at 10:30 am. Went counter clockwise. Very steep up the creek to the falls. Eventually it leveled out to picnic area about 1.5 miles in. The trail around to the east was very nice and well maintained. Not a lot of views and the trail was in shade most of the way. From the where the trail went back down to the lake, the trail back to the original trail at the falls was long. Probably because it was hot and it seemed to keep going and going and going. Once at the turn off at the falls and back to parking, the rest of the hike was all down hill. The guide says it is 7+ miles but my iPhone activity said I went 9.3 miles. I do a lot of hiking and this distance seemed more accurate.

Cataract falls is an amazing trail. Lots of sights to see and the creek runs along the trail. There are signs all along the way with steps and rails to
Keep you sure footed. Be sure to arrive early because it will definitely get crowded after noon. Parking can be limited as well if you arrive late. All in all great trail and I definitely recommend it for the family hikers with kids. Enjoy!

Great hike! Beautiful views and quiet.

I loved this hike!!! Definitely going to do this again but earlier in the morning (i would suggest to start at 9:00am). My boyfriend and I started at 12:00pm and ended around 3:00pm. Bring snacks to eat and lots of water. Hardest part was driving there and parking, but thats why i would suggest to get their early.

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked this trail and it is amazing. Definitely not 8.5 miles. I clocked 10.7 miles, so be prepared. Lots of it is shaded. You will see frequent changes in the ecosystem. This is a mountain biking trail and I was the only hikers I came across.

Lots of climbing but pretty scenery throughout! I didn’t feel there was a big ‘pay-off’ moment at the top with a nice view so that’s why I’d rate this one a 4!

Great hike with my 4 year old!

Definitely one of the most beautiful trails I’ve been to. Will come back for sure!

hiking
1 month ago

Really enjoyable hike, and gorgeous waterfalls throughout. Quite a bit of climbing, but most of it is using stairs and rocks that stand in well for stairs.

Grueling but sooooo worth it. One of the most gorgeous hikes the bay has to offer!

Short hike and lots of stairs. The majority of the hike is through super lush forest along a cute creek. There are some mosquitos tho so bring bug spray

Great hike, but echo the comments on mileage... my Fitbit said we did 13.1 miles, which when you expect 8.6 was a slog at the end. We went clockwise which meant we took the brutal cataract stairs down, instead of up. I think either direction would be an enjoyable hike though!!

beautiful hike with varying terrain- lake, forrest, “desert”- gorgeous. not what i would i consider “easy” with stairs and inclines not totally steep, but there is a significant elevation gain. you can see san pablo bay at one point. fantastic!

Lightly trafficked trail with panoramic views of the water, and typically a lot of hawks.

This is a beautiful hike, easy to moderate intensity. The view, once on top, is spectacular!!

Absolutely love this hike but parking lot is a big obstacle. Always full. They could easily accommodate more cars but locals probably won’t allow for it. You can get to the lot and have 3 cars waiting to park. I’ve had to wait 20 minutes for a spot. It can spoil what was to be a lovely hike.

Our dog got bit by a rattlesnake on this trail today. It’s beautiful, but please be careful!

hiking
2 months ago

There are so many beautiful trails around here that this one is just totally lackluster in comparison.
I would rate this trail as moderate, not easy. The climbs are not unsubstantial.
Majority of trail is a totally exposed fire road; no shade at all. I did this hike at 8:30 in the morning and it was still extremely hot.
Falls area was pretty, as was a brief forested area 3/4 of the way into the hike, but that was about it.

Not an “EASY” hike. Loved it, but its far too technical to be EASY with either a steep sun-drenched grade up a fire road if entering the loop to the left, or a shady, but technical and long up-and-down single track if entering from the right of the split. IMHO, I’d head left and get the climb out of the way early in the hike and then enjoy the walk as you head toward the reservoir filled with really great views.

Fantastic trails, beautiful views. Loved that it’s dog friendly. Trail is pretty crowded in the afternoon.

hiking
2 months ago

The view was great. The kids love it. We will do it again.

Definitely difficult but absolutely beautiful and worth the effort. Completed the 7.5 miles with our dog on leash.

Very nice, kid friendly trail.

on Cataract Falls Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail with beautiful waterfalls along the way. Spring is great time go. Some parts of the trail are narrow, wouldn’t recommend children. If you start the loop at alpine lake, you will hit lots of stairs and uphill so itll be tough at first but coming back will be easier. Watch out for loose rocks on the ground.

Went the day after a rain storm a couple months ago. Awesome hike

Trails maintained well. Great views and numerous waterfalls from the get-go. Trail stats says 7.7 miles but my Garmin Fenix 5x says we did 10 miles.

Come early if you want to find parking close to the trailhead as it gets crowded later in the day.

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