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Cataract Trail Loop in Marin County

See Marin County's most scenic waterfalls. 7-mile moderate hike
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 7.7 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview:  Cataract Creek Trail offers a perfect excuse to play hooky from work or spend a vacation day in the woods. The creek's waterfalls... more »

Tips:  Use extreme caution near the waterfalls: slips could be deadly.

Footing is tricky along the Cataract Trail, which is short but steep.... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Cataract Creek

Cataract Creek Trail starts out tracking Alpine Lake but starts climbing quickly. You'll hear the first waterfall long before you see it, but once you do, prepare to be awed.

The climb is pretty steep for the first half-mile. Soon you'll see a junction with the Helen Markt Trail -- don't turn yet, this will be the return link on your loop.

... More

2. High Marsh Trail

If you stop at Laurel Dell, retrace your steps back to the High Marsh Trail junction and turn right. High Marsh is a delightful single-track through open hillsides and thick forest. It tracks along a hillside so there's not too much up and down.

High Marsh Trail goes 2.1 miles to the intersection with Kent Trail. Turn left there and start... More

3. Kent Trail to Helen Markt Trail

Kent Trail continues for a mile and a half down to the shore of Alpine Lake, where you turn left on the Helen Markt Trail. You might want to rest near the lake before you take on Helen Markt: it climbs about 600 feet as it traverses multiple gullies.

Helen Markt Trail goes for 1.7 miles, where you return to Cataract Trail, turn right and return ... More