Search by keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com

Rainy Silver Linings

The wonderful thing about “winter” in the San Francisco Bay Area is that it’s more of a greening than a graying. The hills turn a delightful emerald and come February the daffodils and lemon grass spot yellow on that green.

Winter’s rain also gives the waterfalls in the various parks around the bay  a glistening makeover and creates some beautiful hikes.

Beautiful hikes provided that you can live with a bit of the vertical. Funny thing about waterfalls, in order for there to be a fall, somewhere there always seems to be climb.

One of my favorite hikes is the Cataract trail by Alpine Lake in Marin County.

Not for the timid or the weak of heart, here the healthy hiker is rewarded by cataract after cascade (thus the name) over some really prime real-estate waterfalls. Hikers pass redwoods, oak forests, rushing white water, gentle streams and a picnic area at the end. At a good clip, the hike takes about 40 minutes.

While the waterfalls flow all year round, they are their best in the midwinter months.

For hikers who aren’t quite sure that they want to hike straight up for forty minutes, the “slightly” less strenuous Carson Falls is nearby.

This hike involves a ten minute climb up a fairly steep track with magnificent views of the bay and the surrounding hills. After reaching the height, it’s all down hill over a wide track and then right (or north if you brought your handy compass) down one of the two trails to the falls. Personally, I prefer the track by the first telephone pole.

When you see a sign that says salamander preserve, you're almost there. Around a bend and the falls present a series of three cascades of varying degrees of scramble for a better look.

To get to either waterfall hike, from 101 take Sir Francis Drake west. In the town of Fairfax, take a brief jog left on Claus, and immediately left on Broadway and then right on Bolinas Road for about four miles.

For Carson Falls, park at the first large parking area past the golf course. If you start to descend into the valley towards Alpine Lake, you’ve gone too far. The trailhead is across the road.

For the Cataract hike, keep going until you come to Alpine dam. At the next hair pin turn (and I mean next) park.

Keep in mind the earlier that you arrive, the easier parking will be.

Hikers tie your boots and go.

Main Page | Links | About Us | Contact Us | Map of the Bay Area
Contents may not be reproduced without the express permission of Life Am Good and author(s). Contact Karen or Crystal with any comments, suggestions, or contrary opinions.