Matt Davis Coastal Cataract Loop 7 miles (Moderate)

  • August 15, 2013 · 10:00 AM
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About the hike:

In this 7-mile loop, we'll hike the western flank of Mt Tam, enjoying commanding views, cool woods, and a waterfall.  Beginning on the Matt Davis Trail from Pantoll, we'll saunter through bay laurel trees, then transition to grasslands and a 1,500-foot-high view to Stinson Beach and Bolinas Lagoon. We'll keep hiking high on the Coastal Trail, then cross over to woodsy, picnic-friendly Laurel Dell and take a 10-minute detour to check out Cataract Falls.  To finish the loop, we'll wend our way through forest and along a creek on Cataract Trail, finishing on Old Miner's Trail with some views to San Francisco in the diestance.

Directions to the Pantoll Ranger Station:

From Hwy 101 take the Mill Valley/Stinson Beach/Hwy 1 exit and continue straight for one mile to a stoplight at Shoreline Hwy (Hwy 1), Turn left on Shoreline and drive 2.5 miles, then turn right on Panoramic Hwy.   Drive 9/10ths of a mile until you reach an intersection where you can go left, straight or right.  Take the middle road continuing on Panoramic Hwy for 4.3 miles more to the Pantoll Ranger Station on your left.

There is an $8 per car charge for parking in the main parking lot, although there is a free lot across the road.  Consider paying the fee to help support our state parks that are threatened by drastic budget cuts.

Car pool etiquette- Come prepared to drive, be aware that there may be no others wanting to car pool from your selected location or there might be a lot of people and everyone might want to ride. We determine who gets the rider seats by who has most recently been a driver in the past. This is worked out based by who shows up at the car pool location. We can't guarantee anyone a seat because we never know until that day who will show up.  We do our best to work it out and make everyone happy but we need everyone to pitch in and help make it work!

Then PLEASE if possible try to use the two locations below. The more locations we have the less effective we are and it's so much more complicated. Exceptions would be if you are not close to either location.

Car pool locations:

SANTA ROSA - Coddingtown Library parking lot suggested leave at 8:30.

PETALUMA -Lucky at the intersection of Lakeville and Caulfield Ln. Park closest to Payran St. suggested leave by 8:55.

General room of thumb...$5 one hour or less to trailhead $8 over one hour to trailhead Please insist your driver accept the money. It's to cover more than gas's the wear and tear on the vehicle. We like to take care of our drivers!

As always:

We combine enjoyment of the trail with respect for everyone’s time.   A steady pace and we just keep going!  Please note that if you are a fast hiker you will end up waiting.  If you are slow you will find that as soon as you are in close visual sight we continue on.  This is how we respect everyone's time.  Also we do ask that if you are having a hard time keeping up with the group that you focus your efforts on keeping pace and doing the best you can do.

Please always check your email the night before just in case there are any necessary adjustments.  This is especially important if there are any weather issues.  Cancellations due to weather will be posted by 10pm the previous evening.

Give yourself time to find the trail head so that you arrive prior to the scheduled time.  That is the time we head out on the trail.  It would be disappointing to miss having you on the hike due to late arrival.

Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good rugged soles that are well broken in.

Duration: 3-4 hours

Facilities: at the trail head and at our lunch break

Bring plenty of water.  More than one bottle is usually a good idea.

No dogs allowed

Dress in layers. It can be hot!!
Bring your smile and great attitude!

See you on the trail!


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  • Michelle K.

    where's the photos guys? am counting on you since I don't have a camera!

    1 · August 16, 2013

  • Marcelyn

    It was definitely a fiver. No, a sixer. Thanks, everyone, for being so welcoming to my friend, Liz. She really enjoyed the day. Thanks, Kathy. You're such a wonderful leader.

    August 15, 2013

  • Robin Palmer

    traffic jam at San Rafael bridge. traffic literally at a standstill. I am NOT going to make hike on time . very disappointed very angry. and sorry I can't be there.

    August 15, 2013

  • Michelle K.


    2 · August 15, 2013

  • Julie

    Gorgeous views of the bay, terrific leadership and lovely folks to hike with along the trail.

    August 15, 2013

  • Kathy

    A perfect day for this hike! Sun overhead, some clouds below but also at least some views, and a sweet breeze. Thanks, everyone, for being willing to try the 10 minutes of silence. Lovely day, lovely group.

    1 · August 15, 2013

  • patrick kelly

    I really enjoyed the hike and pleasant conversation with good friends. Thanks very much Kathy!

    August 15, 2013

  • Amy Heflin

    nice hike, great company. I enjoyed the 10 minutes of silence. it is important for our bodies and minds to be at the same place at the same time and silent hiking helps to connect you to your environment and causes you to notice and see and feel more things.

    2 · August 15, 2013

  • Weiwen Yang

    I can not be there,very disappointed ,and sorry.

    August 15, 2013

  • Kathy

    If you are going to be at the PETALUMA car pool location, please reply to this comment. You can mute this discussion if you don't wan to see all the replies.

    July 17, 2013

  • Marcia B

    I can drive

    August 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Not feeling well. Sorry, to pull out at last minute.

    August 15, 2013

  • Kathy

    If you are going to be at the SANTA ROSA car pool location, please reply to this comment. You can mute this discussion if you don't wan to see all the replies.

    July 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Not sure if I can make it back to s.r. by 3 for my appointment.

    August 14, 2013

  • Kevin Heflin

    sorry leigh found out i had too work at 6 tonight usually would not do this

    August 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What time are we going to be back to Santa Rosa?

    August 11, 2013

    • Kathy

      Exact time back in Santa Rosa depends on when we finish the hike and traffic. We are usually back at the trail head (Pantoll) by 1:30ish.

      August 12, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thank you Kathy.

      1 · August 14, 2013

  • Barbara Turner

    Have to work :( Hope someone waiting can go

    August 14, 2013

  • Lynda K.


    July 17, 2013

16 went

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