Ridgecrest Blvd, Mill Valley, CA
This hike is cancelled due to rain....too steep to do in muddy conditions....
We are meeting at the Rock Springs Trail Head on Mt. Tam. at 10:00am.
Directions to Trailhead:
Mt Tamalpais State Park is located north of San Francisco in Marin County. The Rock Spring Trailhead is located 9.9 miles from Highway 101 on Panoramic Highway. The Rock Spring Trailhead is located 1.4 miles north of Pantoll Ranger Station at the Pantoll Road and West Ridgecrest Blvd intersection.
From Highway 101, exit Stinson Beach - Highway 1 and follow the exit ramp west .6 miles to the Highway 1 - Almonte Blvd intersection. Turn left on Highway 1 toward Stinson Beach. The road winds up the mountain to the Panoramic Highway split (3.2 miles) - veer right on Panoramic Highway (anticipate this quick turnoff). Remain on Panoramic Highway and follow signs for Mt Tamalpais State Park to the Pantoll Ranger Station (keep straight at the Muir Woods - Mill Valley fork at 4.0 miles). From the Pantoll Ranger Station, veer right up Pantoll Road and continue 1.4 miles to the Rock Spring Trailhead parking area.
GPS: N[masked] W[masked] - Rock Spring Trailhead
Things to Know:
Wear hiking boots, if you have poles bring them. Dress in layers. Bring plenty of water (enough for a 6+ mile hike). Pack snacks and a hearty lunch. The drive will take 1.5 hr from the Walnut Creek area. We will take a head count and I will need to be informed if you should decide to turn back earlier. Please contact other members in the group to arrange car pools.
The Hike Details:
This is a gorgeous 6 mile hike with steep sections.
Cataract Falls are located 1.75 miles from the Rock Spring Trailhead in Mt Tamalpais State Park. The trail closely follows Cataract Creek to a series of falls along its path. This popular trail features diverse ecology, and numerous cascades.
Winter visitors will see Cataract Creek at its most voluminous, while spring-summer visitors will enjoy green trailsides, an array of wildflowers, and more stable trail conditions.
The Cataract Trail passes through Rock Spring Meadow to the Benstein Trail split (.07 miles) and veers left down a corridor of fir, laurel, oak, buckeye, maple and redwood. Look for deer, fox, coyote and turkey moving about the forest fringes.
The trail crosses small tributaries several times before aligning with Cataract Creek - still quite tame - at .4 miles. Keep straight past a bridge leading to Laurel Dell Road (1.0 miles : 1,711'). The Cataract Trail eases to the Mickey O'Brien Trail split (1.25 miles : 1,685'), circles the top of Laurel Dell (1.4 miles : 1,678'), and crosses Laurel Dell Road into the Laurel Dell picnic area.
Pass through the picnic and rejoin Cataract Creek, which plunges through a deep gorge and sequence of tumbling falls and swirling pools. Immense fir, oak, and redwoods line these banks.
Newly built rails and stairs help negotiate steep, oft-wet and rugged sections past the High Marsh Trail split (1.7 miles : 1,648') to the first of several cordoned viewing areas for Cataract Falls (1.75 miles). A second flight drops to a wide cascade and deep pool (1.85 miles : 1,580'), one of the trail's best views, and our turnaround point. We will retrace our steps and head back up to the staging area.