Despite its strenuous nature, the 2.5-mile round trip to Cataract Falls
on the north slope of Mount Tamalpais
is definitely not the road less traveled. It's very popular on weekends, when at times every other hiker seems to be accompanied by a canine companion. Pack plenty of drinking water, some high-carb snacks and a hearty lunch to pay back the sweat equity you'll earn while climbing 750 feet up a wooded ravine to the wide-open Laurel Dell Picnic Area. The series of seven falls along Cataract Creek gush spectacularly after a heavy rain, but that also means mud, so watch your step. The Cataract Falls Trail is one of many "love 'em and leash 'em
" dog-trails paths available to hikers within the Marin Municipal Water District
. Photo Credit: Miguel Viera.