Best 10 Trails and Hikes in Fairfax CA

Best 10 Trails and Hikes in Fairfax CA post thumbnail image


If you're looking for a great hiking trail in Fairfax, read on for a company that helps the best options in this guide. From loop hikes to out-and-back treks, you'll find hiking trails for any skill level and interest level. Check out the detailed guides and photos of Fairfax hiking trails from the Outbound community. You'll find everything from detailed descriptions of the Canyon and Moore Trail Loop to photos from the Middle Peak Loop.

Carson Falls

If you're looking for a hike in the Fairfax area, you can take the Carson Falls Trail. The round-trip trail is 3.7 miles and can be finished in about three hours. If you're hiking with your dog, make sure to wear a leash, as park rangers enforce the leash law. Be sure to keep a close eye on your pup, or risk being cited and fined.

The trails are well-marked, so there's no need to worry about getting lost. Little Carson Trail leads into a bay forest, then descends into the canyon below. The waterfall is a series of small and tall cascades, with rocky shelves and thrashing white water. There's no one vantage point from which you can see all parts of the waterfall, but there are a few spots along the water flow, including a picture-perfect spot at mid-fall and at the lower fall.

Pine Mountain

To access Pine Mountain Trails and Hikes, begin by exiting Hwy. 101 at the Sir Francis Drake Blvd. exit and follow signs to Fairfax. You'll need to park in the parking lot in downtown Fairfax before you head up Pine Mountain Road. The trailhead is about three miles up the road. Follow the signs for Pine Mountain Trails and Hikes. Once you arrive, you'll find that you can hike or cycle on the mountain.

The Carson Falls trailhead is located at 1,070 feet. From the turnoff, follow the Pine Mountain Fire Road southward for 3.5 miles. The trail begins a climb through the lower Pine Mountain. You'll pass stunted manzanitas, chaparral pea, and varieties of ceanothus. Along the way, you'll pass Alpine Lake, Mount Tamalpais, and Carson Falls. You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Pam's Blue Ridge on a clear day.

Middle Peak Loop

If you're looking for a challenging hike in the area, consider the Middle Peak Loop. This route stretches from the summit of the peak of Mount Tam to the base of the North Cascades. It includes a steep, uphill section, but is very scenic, with multiple waterfalls. The trailhead is near the town of Fairfax, and is accessible by car or public transit.

While hiking this trail, you'll get a glimpse of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. There's also a 0.5 mile fire road that will take you to a ridge with 360-degree views. You can also continue on to Tennessee Valley and a beach. The views are breathtaking and you'll be rewarded with great views from every step of the way.

Bon Tempe Lake

In Fairfax, California, you can find a number of trails and hikes at Bon Tempe Lake, which is part of the Marin Municipal Water District. There are several trails to enjoy, and the lake is home to many different plant and animal species. The main trails are the Sunnyside and Shadyside trails. Both of these trails circle the lake. The trails are dog-friendly and can be enjoyed on a bike. The park is also picnic-friendly, so bring your favorite dog!

Located near the San Joaquin River, the trails are easy to follow, but be careful to watch for signs. There are some sections where you'll have to scramble, so you'll want to keep an eye out for that. The five-mile Bon Tempe Lake hike is particularly scenic, with many curves in the shoreline. You'll be rewarded with views of the lake and beautiful hills surrounding the area.

Laurel Dell Picnic area waterfalls

If you want to get a great view of waterfalls, the Laurel Dell Picnic area is the right place to visit. The waterfalls are located on Cataract Creek, which is downstream from Alpine Lake. If you want to get a closer look at these waterfalls, you can take a short hike along this trail. The trail is somewhat steep but well worth the views you'll get.

You can also take a hike along the trails in this park. The Cataract Trail and Helen Markt Trail connect at Laurel Dell Picnic Area, and you can hike up to Cataract Falls via either of these trails. The trails have several junctions, and you can use them to make a longer loop. Green Trails Map 1187S shows the different hiking paths. Once you've gotten a sense of which trails are the most popular, you can try exploring all three.

Cataract Falls

Explore the forest and the waterfalls of Cataract Falls on a short hike. This series of small waterfalls is surrounded by lush forests and can be reached on a moderate dirt-trail hike. There is also a more challenging trail, the Fairfax Nature Center. The trail begins from the parking lot and heads north to the trailhead at the Cataract Falls Nature Reserve.

The trailhead is located on Bolinas Fairfax Road in Fairfax, CA. There is no street address listed for it, and you can't see it on Google Maps, but it's right off of Bolinas Road. You'll notice a sign near the trailhead, and you'll soon be able to see the falls. You'll be hiking uphill for the first 1.5 miles, then flattening out.

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