Cataract Falls Trail
Located In: Stinson Beach
Distance: 2.8 Miles, Out-and-Back
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Know Before You Go: The Mt. Tamalpais Watershed area near Stinson Beach is a popular hiking area with potential for year-round crowds. Parking can be tricky, and we recommend you look for a place on the side of Bolinas Fairfax Road.
Fuel Up: You can't visit the North Bay without stopping by Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma (lagunitas.com). Their expansive taproom offers plenty of space, delicious pub grub, and, of course, some of the best beer.
Why We Love It: This trail takes you through a series of cascading waterfalls as you wind your way through some of the Bay Area’s finest nature. While the hike is short, there is plenty of elevation gain to get your workout in and prepare for steeper terrain.
Trail Notes: You will climb a lot of stairs on this hike, so be prepared for a workout. Bring layers, shoes with traction, and bring extra water. Bathrooms are available at the top and dogs are welcome on a leash. Always leave no trace.
When you are hot, sweaty, and miles into a long or strenuous hike, dipping the bottle into some streams is definitely tempting. One of the best things you can throw into your hiking pack is the LifeStraw (lifestraw.com). This is a super compact, lightweight addition to your pack that can both save your life and keep you a little happier on the trails when you forgot to bring extra water. This simple water purification system allows you to drink water directly from streams when you need it most and keep you free from illness. If you've never had giardia, take it from us, you don’t want to.
For more information, visitalltrails.com/trail/us/california/cataract-falls-trail.
by Ryan Martinez
All hike photos by Sasha Apfelzweig, @katsu.inu_. Lagunitas photo courtesy of Lagunitas Brewing Company.