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Matt Davis - Coastal - Cataract Trails Professional Review and Guide
"Here is a magnificent hike through dense forest, past flowering hillsides, then along a refreshing creek. Spectacular views. May be overgrown in summer."
--Don & Kay Martin, Hiking Marin: 141 Great Hikes in Marin County (Marin Press LLC).
Beautiful trail! This was a 4 mile hike for us. We started at Muir Woods and hiked the main trail through the giant redwoods and then uphill for about 2 miles. After you reach the top, you will walk downhill gradually with a breathtaking view of the Pacific and San Francisco.
There are several different ways you could go once you reach the top, but we connected with the Dipsea trail and took that back down to where we parked.
Next time, I think we'll take the Dipsea down to the ocean instead.
We have done this hike many times. It's a superb, relatively easy hike that takes you through a variety of micro climates and scenery. I recommend taking the Cataract trail just after a rainstorm when the falls are running freely. The Coastal section is eerily beautiful when the summer fog is in. On clear days you can see 26 miles to the Farrallon islands and north to Point Reyes. Even on hot sunny days there are sections of trail in heavy shade so it stays comfortable. Last week when we were on Mount Tam other hikers reported a mountain lion near junction of Coastal and Matt Davis so be aware!
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