#1: Cataract Trail- Mount Tamalpais

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Waking up at 5:30 am is not what I want to do on a Saturday. I am just being honest. I work full time just like everyone else and I like my weekends. But my hiking buddy wanted to go on a hike for her birthday and she also had a soccer game to watch at 1 pm. Sometimes you just want to go on a hike, no matter what time you have to wake up…

So we leave at 6:30 am, we grab some coffee at Dutch Bros and we are on the way to Fairfax, CA. The Pros about waking up so early is there is a lot less traffic and you get a good look at the sunrise.

I chose this trail from an app that is fairly new to me its called ‘All Trials’. I looked specifically at Mount Tamalpais and this trail featured water (one of my favorite things in a good hike) the All Trails app said it was moderate, as far as hike-ability, and seemed totally doable in our time frame.

At 8 a.m we arrive! One tip I would give about this trail is definitely there is not a lot of parking so get there early. I really wasn’t sure where the trail started as we saw a couple cars on the edge of Alpine Lake, a wide bridge and a port-a-potty. So my friend helped me park on the edge of the lake with the other cars. We get our packs and we start walking across the bridge. Keep in mind that cars do go on the bridge so be careful.

 

Looking over the bridge

Looking over the bridge

Already the quietness and the views are awesome. The lake is a beautiful emerald and the smell of pine trees and crisp fresh morning air. You really cant help but take a deep breath. I love the smell of the forest!

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At the trail-head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We walk down the road and around a couple of turns on the pavement and find our trail head. A few warning signs posted and you head off into the forest. This trail is rocky and dirty. I mean rocky as in boulders. So we start up and up but along the way to our left we see little pools and creeks. The beauty of this place is more than I expected. We took lots of photo ops along the way just taking our time.

Going up

This trail is about 2.7 miles out and back, in my opinion it is mostly an up and back down trail. It gets very steep. At least in my book some of the portions of the trail would be pretty difficult for a beginner. The trail is very simple to follow. There is not a way to be lost really.

Off the beaten path

We sat to enjoy a waterfall in the middle and grab a snack. It was so awesome. I didn’t think we had such beauty so close to us.

 

Waterfall stop

Cute wooden bridge along the way

We make good time and reach the top around 11. We grab a bench in a cute grove of pine trees that has picnic tables and flat ground which I am thankful for. There is a creek flowing next to it and it was extremely quiet, we even laughed at my crunching while I ate an apple. I was super hot and sweaty (gross I know), I would recommend a moisture-wicking shirt. Water is also on the most important to pack list.

After we rest we head back down the hill. It is also pretty steep on the way back and it is a narrow trail. We were single file 99% of the time. We said good morning to people with their dogs on the way out.
I felt like we were coming out of a secret forest at the end and all of the sudden we were back to real life at the end of the trail. There were a total of 3 waterfalls that we saw, it was amazing mostly because it was a surprise. We both had sore feet and legs as we got to the car, but the feeling of accomplishment and the pure joy of nature was beyond the pain.

Map

Cataract Falls Trail

Day Pack includes:

  • Water
  • Apple/Trail-mix/Granola
  • Tissues
  • Blistex
  • Wet Ones (brought by my friend, good thinking on her part)
  • Phone

What I Wore:

  • VSX Black Tights, Pink grey muscle shirt, PINK zip up hoodie, sports bra, low-cut socks, Nike Free black running shoes, braided hair, drawstring backpack.

Picture Cred: Mari Marron

 

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