Waterfall hunting – Cataract Falls, Marin County

Waterfall hunting - Cataract Falls | Smiling In Sonoma

A M A Z I N G foggy, rainy, sweaty hike up a ton of muddy, slippery stairs and rocks following the trail of Cataract Creek…to waterfall heaven. Mount Tamalpais has a lot of waterfalls just dribbling down all over it right now like icing on a bundt cake. Everywhere you look while driving the curvy roads you see water flowing. It’s been seriously wonderful going up there to visit this winter with all the rain we have finally been getting!

The hike was prompted by the IgersNorthbay Instagram meetup held in the afternoon on the west side of the mountain. It was close to Cataract Falls so the hubs and I decided to do a little waterfall hunting before the meetup. Thankfully we took a second set of clothes but really should have been more prepared with a third set!

BAHiker.com does a fabulous job explaining this short hike so I won’t bore you with too many details of my own.

We were not alone in thinking the falls would be gorgeous on a rainy morning. There were several others parked all along the road at the hairpin turn so we headed up the hill a little to another muddy spot that was a little safer to park than trying to squeeze in down below. We thought we had prepared with the right clothing and rain jackets but I think we overdid it. We were hot and removing layers about halfway up the stairs. There were others with their cameras and tripods tucked under rain jackets as well as several braving the rain with their phones out snapping away.

As you climb you follow the main Cataract Creek that flows down into Alpine Lake but there are also several small waterfalls happening on all sides. The sound of rushing water and smell of rain is just amazing. Definitely a happy place for me! There’s plenty of safe spots to take some amazing photos along this hike. Once you reach the bridge crossing the creek, go up a little more and you will be greeted by a wonderful flat area with the creek falling into a pool of water. Perfect spot to set up the tripod, snap some pics, and relax…

The hubs and I would like to do the longer loop in the spring and hope the falls are still flowing then!

For this hike I decided to just do a photo tour since there’s not much to it other than you hike up 1.3 miles, then you hike down 1.3 miles all the while seeing gorgeous waterfalls! 🙂

After we got back down to level ground we walked over to the dam to check out the lake and were greeted by another waterfall of sorts! Water flowing out of the dam into Lagunitas Creek!

Headed back to the car, changed clothes and ate our snack then drove over out of the wind free area to the Instagram Meetup on the west side of the mountain. On a normal day, we would have seen Stinson Beach and gorgeous views of the ocean but today it was all about gathering a fabulous group of talented Northbay photographers in the rain/fog to click away with wonderful weather challenges.

It was a good day to be on the mountain waterfall hunting and meeting new friends.


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