Cataract Falls: A California classic

dog on wooden bridge in forest
Photo by Anastase Maragos.

Despite its strenuous nature, the 2.5-mile round trip to Cataract Falls on the north slope of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County is definitely not the road less traveled. It’s very popular on weekends, when every other hiker seems to be accompanied by a canine companion. The series of nine cascades along Cataract Creek will entertain your ears as well as your eyes as you follow the twisting streambed through a wooded ravine.

corgi stands on boulder in front of cataract falls
Yuki at Cataract Falls. Photo by @itazurayukithecorgi.

Be forewarned that access is different this year due to storm-related road closures, so instead of starting at the bottom of the cascades and hiking up, you’ll start on West Ridgecrest Boulevard at the Laurel Dell picnic area and hike down and then up again.

Pack plenty of drinking water, some high-carb snacks and a hearty lunch to pay back the sweat equity you’ll earn while navigating 750 feet of elevation loss and gain. Expect mud, and prepare accordingly with a change of shoes for you and a towel in the car for Daisy.

The Cataract Falls Trail is one of many “love ’em and leash ’em” dog-friendly paths available to hikers within the Marin Municipal Water District.

For info on more waterfall hikes in the Bay Area, click here.

Posted on: June 29, 2022

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