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Marin County Watershed : Hiking Cataract trail

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10 July 2016
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15 July 2016
This article is part of our
Hikes in San Francisco series.

By far our favorite place to hike around San Francisco, the Marin Watershed has more than 100 miles of trails to explore.

Cataract Fall hike in Marin County

Alpine Lake, at the Cataract Trail head

Hiking cataract Fall - Marin Watershed

Probably the best place to hike around San Francisco

Established in 1912, the Marin Municipal Water District provides high-quality drinking water to 187,500 customers in central and southern Marin County. It’s also a wonderful place to hike, and easy to get to since it takes about 1 hour drive to from San Francisco.


There is different way to access the Marin County Watershed, but I would recommend either of these 2 accesses :
- The cataract Trail head : Accessible via FairFax, about 1 hour from San Francisco
- The rock Picnic Area : about 50 minutes of driving from San Francisco.

Trail Map

I encourage you to download and print the trails Map from the Marin Municipal Water district for a full description of the area.

Suggested Hikes :

The Cataract Trail is the most famous trail in the park. It’s a succession of creeks and waterfalls and with lots of surrounding trees and shade, it is the perfect hike for a hot or foggy day.
The two following hikes focus on this trail :

From Rock Spring Picnic area : The Cataract trail to Alpine Lake (5 miles Round trip)

From Cataract Trailhead : 7 miles round trip and similar to the previous trail, but it’s a loop : take Cataract Trail, then a left on the High Marsh trail, another left on Kent trail, left on the Helen Mark Trail and back to the trail head..

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