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Cataract Falls

  • Jan 5, 2013 · 10:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

Distance: ~10 miles
Elevation Gain: ~1800 feet
Time:
~6 hours
Difficulty Level: "3-Moderate Hike" (Elevation gain over longer distance)

[scale used: 1-Easy...5-Very Strenuous]

Meetup Fee: $3 

Pace: Moderate pace of average ~2 miles per hour. (fast hikers please excuse, we will take frequent breaks)

Exposure: Mostly Shaded Redwoods

Weather: We will go rain or sun-shine.

 

Parking: $8, Pantoll Ranger Station

Hike: Cataract Falls consists of about 9 separate cascade waterfalls along Cataract Creek, depending on how you count them. They are all in the neighborhood of 25 ft. to 70 ft., and are all quite different and quite impressive when Cataract Creek is flowing well.

1. From Pan Toll Ranger Station, we will climb up Old Mine Trail from across the road to Rock Spring

2. From Rock Spring we will descend down Cataract Trail and stay on it till we reach the falls and the big wooden bridge

3. From Cataract Trail we will take Helen Market to Alpine Lake and walk along the lake till Kent.

4. We will climb up Kent Trail to High Marsh

5. High Marsh will bring us back to Cataract Trail.

6. We will Climb up the Cataract Trail, jump back on to Old mine Trail to Pan Toll Ranger Station Parking Lot.

The hike is an absolutely gorgeous hike along the creek through a forest of Redwoods. You are never far away from the next waterfall as you walk along the rushing creek. It is non-stop excitement, but takes quite a while to complete this hike because you are always stopping to look at the waterfalls and take pictures. The first four waterfalls really could be considered one single waterfall, as they are all in a row, with only a small break between them, consider them to be one large 230 ft. high waterfall, which makes it the highest waterfall in the SF Bay area.

 

Driving Directions to Pan Toll Ranger Station:

GPS Address (as per Google): 6424 Panoramic Hwy, Stinson Beach, CA 94970

Pan Toll Ranger Station Parking Lot,
Intersection of Pan Toll Road and Panoramic Highway,
Mill Valley, CA

Good Maps Link: http://g.co/maps/8jznh


Link to Google Driving Directions: http://g.co/maps/927sc

Driving Directions from Golden Gate:

1. Head out on US-101 North on Golden Gate Bridge   5.6 mi
2. Take exit 445B to merge onto CA-1 N toward Mill Valley/Stinson Beach     1.0 mi
3. Turn left to stay on CA-1 N     1.2 mi
4. Turn left to stay on CA-1 N     1.4 mi
6. Slight right onto Panoramic Hwy     2.6 mi
7. Slight left to stay on Panoramic Hwy 2.7 mi
-You will "PASS" Mt House Fire Station and Boot Jack parking lot on your RIGHT
8. Pan Toll Ranger Station will be "on the LEFT at the intersection". (it is roughly half a mile from Boot Jack parking lot.)

Cataract Falls: Join me to experience and celebrate nature together in our journey of life and make new friends. We are going to spend a day visiting beautiful Cataract falls. We will be heading out to this hidden gem Mill Valley location, a 40 minutes drive North of San Francisco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our fellow hiker friend Gambolin Man has posted a great poetic description of Cataract falls which I must share with you here with minor edits. Please visit Gambolin blog for more exciting adventures.

Cataract Falls, where, as Thich Nhat Hanh put it, "water flows from high in the mountains, water runs deep in the earth, miraculously water comes to us and sustains all life." Cataract Falls: now showcasing daily matinees of miraculous water crashing through a narrow, steep ravine cutting a boulder-choked, log-strewn watercourse down the lushly forested northwest flanks of Mt. Tamalpais. If this sounds seductive to you waterfall and cascade lovers, you're in for a special treat at this time of year, right after the first big rains drench and saturate the earth. Cataract falls is touted as the place to check out in all the tourist guidebooks.

In days past, you might get positively riled up over it - wanting the place selfishly all to yourself, of course. And who wouldn't? But on this day, you don't let the chaotic overflow of humanity betray your spirits, because you realize you're just one of them, merely a part of the procession paying homage to the brilliant and ephemeral spectacle, just one of them making the pilgrimage in queue with dozens of other people who have come to ooh and aah along with you. Thankfully, everyone's fairly respectful and quiet enough, as quiet as noisy jibbering people in groups can be; mostly, they seem humbled to be witness to such raw, powerful, sublime beauty. You think, c'mon, it's just water flowing down a ravine, after all!

Well, it's a lot more than that, which is why you're here, after the same thing as all the others – scenic respite from urban hurriedness, appreciation of pretty wild lands, the thrill and joy of discovering big water. In droves you've all come out of the woodwork to worship at the shrine of Tlaloc, or some other mystical Water God, at a place where pure white water crashes over rock shelves and pours relentlessly over carved pool lips from on high, torrentially gushes down whoopy chutes, races through swirling channels and drowns out all the world's clamor with its lulling sound of meditative white noise, hurried along by the inexorable pull of gravity's relentless tug. Cataract Falls attracts throngs of onlookers, gawkers, and admirers for the simple reason that its beauty is so accessible and the payoff is instant, as the best of the falls are appreciated right off the bat, no matter if you’re hiking from Rock Springs trail off Ridgecrest Boulevard from up top, or starting your hike from the bottom of the ravine. A few hundred yards either way and you're in waterfalls heaven. Don't forget to give thanks and praise!

The near verticality of the trail – 1000 ft. over a mile or so – exacts its achy toll on bodily joints, that’s for sure, but it’s so charmingly beautiful and refreshing and the adrenaline's flowing through your body like the water flowing through the ravine that it doesn't matter, doesn't hit you squarely until you stop to rest at the top and suddenly feel that bum ankle of yours, those creaky knees, maybe you're just getting younger by the minute in this rejuvenating setting!

Discover for yourself that it is no less awesome of a sanctuary to escape to during hot summer days. The coolness of the shaded forest draws you in to seek out pretty spots to plop down, take your shoes off, soak your tired feet, and kick back and listen to the soft sounds of the forest - Thoreau's "vibration of the universal lyre" - a woodpecker hammering away, the "chance note of some arriving bird," or a visiting breeze gently rustling the treetop canopy. Close your eyes and let the sing-song gurgle of the trickling water lull you into a meditative state, where, like Chuang Tzu 2300 years ago, "the sound of water says what I think." You become rapt in reverie, and "the voice of the wood" is at long last heard, and the tickle of the wood nymph once again comes to titillate you in your dreamy idyll.

Kent Lake is a reservoir in western Marin County, California formed by the construction of Peters Dam across Lagunitas Creek. Built in 1954, the lake is the most recent lake of the Marin Municipal Water District, as well as the largest. Unlike the other lakes in the area, Kent Lake has almost no hiking trails around it. By automobile, major access points to the area include parking to the southeast off the Bolinas Fairfax road, or from the northwest, with seasonal parking off Sir Francis Drake Blvd or in one of the pullouts along the road. Minor access points include the dam at the southwestern point of Alpine lake on the Bolinas Fairfax road.

Alpine Lake is a reservoir in Marin County, California. Formed by Alpine Dam, it provides water to the Marin Municipal Water District. Below the dam lies Kent Lake. [From Wikipedia]

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CARPOOLS

How to pay your Fair-Share to Carpool driver (updated): When we carpool, we should take into account vehicles wear & tear, tires and maintenance, in addition to gas spent when paying the Carpool Driver. Here is our recommended formula:

Driver+1: Passenger pay 70% of gas + share the parking/entrance fees equally.

Driver+2: The two passengers, each pay 50% of gas + share the parking/entrance fees equally (driver’s share is wear & tear + driver shares the parking/entrance fees).

Driver+3: the three passengers, each passenger pay 33% of gas + share the parking/entrance fees equally among each other. (driver’s share is wear & tear. Driver pays NO parking/entrance fees or gas).

Phones: phones don't work on most of the hikes, though may work at some high spots. Please keep them switched off to enjoy silence and respect for our fellow hikers.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Very nice hike Vic. Thank you.

    January 6, 2013

  • Vic

    Has everyone secured their rides/carpools?

    Roads are windy in the mountain, give yourself an extra half an hour of driving time to arrive at Pantoll Station, otherwise you are guaranteed to be late....

    Happy New Year!

    January 4, 2013

4 went

  • Vic +2
    Hiker, Organizer,
    Event Host
  • A former member

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