Dog-friendly Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls

Fairfax-Bolinas Rd.
Fairfax, California 94924
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Despite its strenuous nature, the 2.6-mile round trip to Cataract Falls on the north slope of Mount Tamalpais is definitely not the road less traveled.

This hike is 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  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 available to hikers within the Marin Municipal Water District.

• Distance: About 2.6 miles round trip
• Level: Moderate to strenuous
• Parking: Free but not always easy to find.
• Tip: Cut your distance in half by setting up two cars in a shuttle, one at the lower trailhead, the other at the Laurel Dell trailhead.

Directions:
From Highway 101 in San Rafael, Marin County, take the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard exit and follow it about 6 miles to Fairfax. Turn left on Pacheco, make an immediate right on Broadway and go left at the next block on Bolinas Road. Continue about 8 miles and watch for Alpine Lake and dam. Cross the dam and park the side of the road just before a sharp hairpin turn. The trailhead is on the left.

Help us keep this trail beautiful and dog-friendly:
• Always follow the posted rules as they may have changed
• If in off-leash area, keep your dog under voice command
• Respect and protect wildlife and habitats
• Pack in and pack out, leaving only paw prints

Photo Credit: Instagram/chico_the_boston_terrier

waterfall, hike, marin, mount tamalpais, laurel dell

Cataract Falls, Mill Valley
Cataract Falls, Marin County. Photo: Kevin Etter, CC
Despite this year’s scant rainfall, waterfalls are once again flowing in Northern California, and you don’t want to miss the show. Cataract Falls on the north slope of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County is probably the best-known waterfall in the Bay Area, and for good reason. It gets really big after a spring rain, sprouting up to nine silvery cascades, some more than 50 feet high, plunging purposefully down the Cataract Creek streambed. The surrounding forest, with its moss- and lichen-covered rocks, ferny ground cover, gnarly oaks and sentinel redwoods, can seem an enchanted place, especially just after a rain. more »
Cataract Falls in Marin CountyCataract Falls in Marin County is probably the best-known waterfall in the Bay Area, and for good reason. It gets really big after a spring rain, sprouting up to nine silvery cascades, some more than 50 feet high, plunging purposefully down the Cataract Creek streambed. The surrounding forest, with its moss- and lichen-covered rocks, ferny ground cover, gnarly oaks and sentinel redwoods, can seem an enchanted place, especially just after a rain. more »
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