Cataract Creek Mount Tamalpais, CA

We hiked this because the humans were very lost.

Also, they couldn't see anything.

Mid June, Sunday morning, we arrived in Mount Tamalpais around 9am, driving on switchbacks with intense fog. Mom could only see about 10 yards in front of her, which is really scary because there's a lot of cars and bicyclists even early in the morning. If your pups get car sick then definitely be prepared!

The humans originally planned to hike a fire trail in the area only to learn dogs aren't allowed. So they stopped at the ranger station to get a map and figure out where to go.

For those wondering, everything north of the park ((and in yellow) allows dogs. Dogs are NOT allowed inside the state park area (any of the green areas).

Cataract trail is like a magical forest.

Even in June the forest was very lush, and a little muddy, and the creek was running.

Starting our hike at 9:30am.

What's inside the forest?

Wait for me!!!

So green!

2 curly tails. 2 happy dogs.

The fog started to disappear but it stayed cool under the trees.

Just 2 love bugs ❤️️

About half way through the forest clears and the trail opens up to a wide plain with lots of wild flowers and a picnic area.

There's also a bathroom if you need a potty break, although no lights, so it's dark in there! There are other trails to explore, clearly marked, but the humans really wanted to see the waterfalls, which is what the Cataract trail is known for.

Cataract trail is just over 7 miles. Once you pass the clearing this is where the trail starts to slowly make its descent and the becomes much more narrow and steeper.

Since it was surprisingly muddy it was definitely slippery here. In fact, Chai's mom slipped a couple times! There's lots of rocks too, so just be extra careful. This is also where we started to see more people - and more doggies!

Something in the bushes is very interesting...

Can you spot me?!

Hey Caesar! Wait for us!

Chai likes to stay close to his mom.

Waterfall! One of many...

Lots of fresh running water.

The trails are leash only, partially because dogs (and humans) aren't allowed in the creek and waterfalls. We saw a mix of dogs on and off leash, although there are rangers in the area.

Chai really likes balls and sticks. In fact, sometimes he cries when he can't pick up a stick that's too big. He's very good at chewing them, too.

Just follow the (very clear) water...

Did you get the picture?

Checking out another waterfall.

This trail is everything a forest trail should be: soft dirt, mud, the smell of trees, a babbling brook and big rocks. Even though it was chilly the fog made it extra magical, and everyone we came across was so friendly. There was even a tiny pup learning to hike!

Chai and T!

Cataract trail leads to Alpine Lake, which was a lot bigger than the humans thought. You can also park by the lake, which is what we should have done so that the hike started at an incline, but oh well!

This is only a part of the lake.

Once we saw the lake we had to turn around and start making our way aaaalllll the way back...uphill. This was a lot harder and since parts of the trail are stairs/rocks definitely be prepared for a workout!

We took a break at the Laurel Dell picnic area again for a water break and tick check. Mom found a couple on me and T also found a couple on Chai. Best to make sure your pup is on a tick regimen, even if your pup stays on leash. There's a lot of brush to rub up against, here!

I'm too tired to smile

Your fur parents want to know:

  • Yes, there's parking, both at West Ridgecrest Blvd and at Alpine Lake
  • No, this is not an off leash park
  • No, this is not a fenced enclosure
  • No, there are no doggy (or human) water fountains
  • No, there are no poop bags
  • Yes, there are trash bins (by picnic areas)
  • Yes, there are benches
  • Yes, there are toilets (at trailhead and Laurel Dell picnic area)

🐾 Caesar

Created By
Miran Liu

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