Travelog VI || Mt. Tam Rock Spring Trailhead
There's no place like home...other than the woods. Cooper and I saw ourselves back at Mt. Tamalpais for a third time, ready to go on our 8+ mile hike along the Stagecoach Trail. However, we weren't able to snag a parking spot without paying $8 in cash at the Ranger Station. There’s no main entrance fee, but East Peak, Pantoll and Bootjack trailheads have parking fees. We wanted to hike East Peak along the Stagecoach Trail but sadly, I did not bring cash. Note to self, always bring cash when visiting National Parks and State Parks.
Luckily, there was another hiking trail that's dog-friendly with no parking fee. This hiking trail is still within Mt. Tamalpais State Park. We found ourselves parking and getting ready to hike Cataract Falls and Alpine Lake trail from the Rock Spring Trailhead. This trail follows Cataract Creek to a series of waterfalls and river stream along its path. Along the way, we came across redwood-lined shores and saw a plethora of cascades and diverse ecology.
At the start of our hike, we passed through Rock Spring Meadow to Bernstein Trail about 0.7 miles in from the Rock Spring Trailhead. While on the Cataract Trail, we made sure to veer left down a path of maple, redwood, and fir. Supposedly there are deer, fox, and coyote around but we didn't come across any during our time here. This is a popular trail during the weekend so the wild animals were probably in hiding.
As we continue down the trail, we crossed a few small tributaries that aligned with Cataract Creek. There were a couple of bridges along the way as we came up to Laurel Dell Road. Once we crossed Laurel Dell Road, a campground picnic area appeared. Around this area, we stayed true to the trail. Once we passed through the picnic area, we were able to rejoin Cataract Creek. The scenery changed suddenly as we were plunged into a deep gorge and sequence of swirling pools.
There were a lot of newly built rails and stairs to help navigate the steep and slippery path as we continue to traverse towards Cataract Falls and Alpine Lake. Cooper was handling the stairs and slippery slopes like a pro while I was trying to maintain my balance and traction. During rainy season, the trail tend to become wet and muddy. So it's best to have shoes with traction when hiking this particular area.
The neat thing about this trail was the unexpected plethora of waterfalls and a surprise little slug friend while we were heading back to the car. All in all, I am happy to have found another dog-friendly trail in Mt. Tam. There are quite a few restrictions within this State Park for dogs due to the ecology and protected wildlife. If you're unable to hike East Peak with your dog(s) along the Stagecoach Trail, Rock Spring Trailhead towards Cataract Falls is a fantastic alternative. The scenery will be different but it's still a beautiful and peaceful hike nonetheless.
The roundtrip totaled up to about 6 miles. Cooper was a trooper, carrying his own weight with his daypack that was mainly filled with extra poop bags and dog treats (and a few extra bandanas). I was mostly carrying water, first aid kit, trail snacks, and a few other hiking essentials. At the end, Cooper had a huge smile on his face and an abundant of energy leftover. Honestly, I don't know how he does it.
:✘: Outfits :✘:
Dog Backpack :: Outward Hound DayPack
Dog Tag :: SouthPawDog May the Forest Be With You Tag
Collar & Leash :: Bearytail Leather Co The Naked Collection
Human Backpack :: Topo Design Rover Pack