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Top off your hike at any one of Marin County’s restaurants, or places to stay overnight, and please remember that as a visitor your safety is our primary concern. We ask before visiting any area in Marin County to educate yourself on local conditions and regulations. Closures and openings of venues change, and it is up to you to plan ahead and carry out activities in a responsible way to protect yourself and anyone you should contact. But more importantly, remember to always wear a mask and practice physical distancing. So, when the time is right for you to get on the road, we have a ideas on where to go.
Cascade Falls – Mill Valley
Cascade Falls is just a mile from downtown Mill Valley and a short out-and-back hike that's easy enough for just about everyone in the family to tackle. This is a serene trail that leads you through soaring redwoods and wildflowers to a perfect view of the cascading waterfall, especially after a rainstorm. A walk alongside the creek is particularly calming with the sounds of running water as you meander among the tall trees. Begin on Cascade Drive and look for the trailhead where a cool wooden bridge highlights an easily walkable path. Stop in at the Depot in downtown Mill Valley for an after-hike snack.
Buck Gulch Falls - Novato
Another light and easy 1.3-mile RT hike for adventurers of any level or age, Buck Gulch Falls is a relatively new waterfall area in Novato which just opened to the public in recent years. This hiking trail follows a small, adorable stream with plenty of tiny lizards scurrying alongside, and a rewarding waterfall at the end of the path, especially after some rain! Don’t forget to notice the wildflowers on both sides of the trail!
Dawn Falls - Larkspur
Redwood-covered mountain panoramas provide the scenery along your 2.7 mile hike to Larkspur’s Dawn Falls, a really cool waterfall formation that goes off in 19 different directions simultaneously like a piece of modern art. This short hike is simple yet amazingly scenic, and the trails are very well defined. As with Buck Gulch Falls, Dawn Falls is also seasonally small depending on when you go. Make sure to take this hike mid-week since public parking can be limited since the area is mostly residential. Make sure to take a coffee rest at Café Rulli afterwards with an Italian pastry to end a perfect day outdoors.
Cataract Falls – Mt Tam
You don’t see just one waterfall along the Cataract Falls Trail Loop, you see nine in all varying sizes. Both the beginning and the end of this dog-friendly, eight-mile redwood forest loop are accessible by road, with high-elevation heights offering scenic Pacific Ocean views, plus washrooms and picnic areas along the way. If you prefer to opt-in for the shorter two-mile out-and-back trek, begin at any of the roadside parking areas on the Fairfax-Bolinas Road south of Alpine Dam.
Carson Falls - Fairfax
There are four great, under-the-radar waterfalls here, plus a 360-degree view of Marin County from the peak of Pine Mountain in Fairfax. Along the Carson Falls hiking path, there are even boulders to sit on to watch the waterfalls from. This hike is a hidden favorite among the locals that actually combines a few different interesting paths, but there are maps and hike descriptions available online to help guide you.
Explore Hidden Waterfalls in Marin County
"The best thing about the SMART train line isn’t the trains themselves, but the things you can do and the places you can go while avoiding traffic and leaving the driving to someone else."
Marin Convention & Visitors Bureau
Let’s sit up, stretch and start thinking about our next adventure to Marin County! Yes, it’s time to come back - again.
So, if you are ready for some spring hikes, the Vernal Equinox and Daylight Savings are right around the corner to help jumpstart that perfect getaway to Marin. . Our waterfalls should be in full bloom by then, as well as our wildflowers. Marin County is renowned for its great hiking destinations like Point Reyes and Mount Tamalpais, but there are a few secret and less well-known hiking trails with breathtaking waterfalls hidden deep within the forests.