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Hike: Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve

A Beautiful Waterfall Hidden Close by Sausalito!

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In Sausalito and the surrounding area are some of the most actively visited outdoor parks in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The North Bay’s relatively rural nature has left it with miles and miles of open space and ecosystems that still look much like they did before the Bay Area was heavily settled. Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve is one such place that is a prime example of these open natural spaces of the North Bay Area.

Hidden almost in plain sight near Sausalito, this small preserve is home to miles of hiking trails covered with wonderful examples of native plants. During certain months of the year, wildflowers and native fauna and insects also abound in this park and provide hikers with a peaceful and quiet excursion just moments form downtown Sausalito.

Hiking to the Waterfall

This short out and back hike will give hikers looking for some solitude and peace a relatively easy hike with great examples of local flora while providing enough scenery to make this a bit more than just another walk in the woods. As with any waterfall excursion, this hike is best done in late winter or early spring when the water is flowing at its highest for maximum effect at the falls itself, but regardless of water levels, this hike is a gem for a quick North Bay outing at any time of year.

Almost immediately after beginning the hike, you will turn right onto High Water Trail and skirt the upper edge of the creek rather than following Cascade Fire Road which will ford the creek several times. After a short time winding through the woods along the creek, you will reach a junction again with Cascade Fire Rd. Turn Right onto the road and follow it along as you climb and then descend a relatively mild incline. Stay on Cascade Fire Road as it passes through several junctions and doglegs until you come at last to Cascade Falls Trail where you will turn right to ascend to the falls.

The Cascade Falls Trail is an almost level trail that follows the creek to the falls themselves and is a wonderful area for viewing wildflowers at many different times throughout the year. Cascade Falls is a single drop waterfall of about 15 feet into a pool, where it rejoins the creek and flows downstream, and in full flow is a spectacular small waterfall. Once you have had your fill at the falls area, simply retrace your path back to the parking area.

Getting to Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve from Sausalito

From Sausalito, you will want to head north on highway 101 to Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and exit wets toward Fairfax. Take Sir Francis Drake Blvd. approximately 5 miles and turn left onto Pastori and then a quick right one block later onto Broadway. Turn left onto Bolinas Rd, and after a short time make a right onto Cascade. Half a mile ahead, the street will dead end at the curbside parking area for the preserve.

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Photos copyright by Jay Graham Photographer