Cataract Falls Trail is an idyllic walk through the woods culminating in a dramatic waterfall! There are trees, ferns and mosses all along the creek. The image above is the top of the Cataract Falls, and if you follow the creek down, you’ll find multiple smaller but exquisite falls below.
The image below is of one of the lower falls that’s easily accessible, and where there is a short spur trail and some beautiful spots to sit.
These photos were taken in March and April of 2016, but by early May 2016 the water is slowing and the moss is considerably drier. Plan your visit during the Spring rainy season for optimal moss and fern viewing!
Trailhead: Start at Rock Springs Trailhead at the intersection of E. Ridgecrest Blvd. and Pantoll Road. It’s in the vicinity of the Cushing Memorial Amphitheater at the foot of Mount Tam.
Parking Recommendations: Go to Pantoll Station, which is easily found on GPS. Get a printed map there, speak to a ranger if you wish, and use the flush toilets! If you just want to grab a map, use one of the 15 minute spaces on the eastside of the parking lot, as the parking lot is often full.
On weekends, go early in the day. By afternoon, parking is harder to find, and you may need to walk along the road from your parking spot.
When you leave Pantoll Station, drive 1.3 miles up Pantoll Road to Ridgecrest Road. There is a larger parking lot there and pit toilets where the two roads meet.
Difficulty: This trail is appropriate for most hikers, as it’s just 5 miles round trip and almost entirely level. There are also lovely places to stop, and the scenery is outstanding!
Dogs Allowed: Dogs are allowed throughout the Marin Municipal Water District, including this trail.
I’m Karen Nierlich. I take forest pictures with a focus on moss plants and ferns. Please follow me on instagram.com/iheartmoss or facebook.com/iheartmoss. You’ll also find a nature-inspired jewelry shop on this site that caters to nature lovers. Forest-themed necklaces allow you to show the world your love of nature. An acorn necklace, for example, is a great conversation starter and helps you meet others who share your love of the outdoors.