Cascade Falls - Pine Mountain
8.0 miles     1800 ft
1 Apr 2012

A route that explores all the trails in the western section of Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve, all the way to Pine Mountain. The trails go through varied terrain like forests, creeks, waterfalls and ridges offering panoramic valley views.

Location: Cascade Canyon Open Space PreserveMount Tamalpais Watershed

Elevation Profile
Trip Planning

Trail Maps

» Official Trail Map: Good map showing various hiking trails. Mileage information of trail segments is missing.


Route: From Cascade Drive entrance, walk along Highwater Trail, cross the creek on the left at the first possible opportunity to hop onto Carey Camp Loop Trail. Before this trail returns to the creek, there is a junction with Happersberger Trail. Turn left on Happersberger Trail and walk 1.3 miles to an unmarked junction. Bear right and within 0.3 miles, this trail joins Pine Mountain Road, a wide fire road. Turn right on Pine Mountain Road and walk 0.3 miles to a junction with San Geronimo Ridge Road. Continue for 0.4 miles along San Geronimo Ridge Road, turn right on Cascade Canyon Road and walk for 2.0 miles to reach a bridge over a creek. Before the bridge, turn left onto an unnamed trail which meanders to the left of a creek. This trail leads you to Cascade Falls. Return from Cascade Falls by the same unnamed trail, back to the bridge over a creek. Cross the bridge and continue along Highwater Trail back to Cascade Drive park entrance.

Trail Map: You would also need Trail Map for Mount Tamalpais Watershed. Instead of the free maps, you may wish to buy the Tom Harrison Map for Pine Mountain which shows trails from all parks on a single sheet. Note: Happersberger Trail is shown partially even in the Tom Harrison map even though it extends all the way to Pine Mountain Road.

Creek crossings: Cascade Falls is best visited after heavy rains. This route involves two creek crossings which will make your feet wet because there are no bridges over the creeks.

Happersberger Trail: This trail is not drawn on any map even though it is well maintained. Maybe this is an unofficial trail. It continues to climb from about 400 ft in Cascade Canyon to about 1400 ft in Mount Tamalpais Watershed where it meets Pine Mountain Road at an unmarked junction. Moreover, if you're walking along Pine Mountain Road and look back at Happersberger Trail, it is not even obvious that there is a trail there. Note: After walking about 1.3 miles from Cascade Canyon along Happersberger Trail, there was an unmarked junction where I turned right to reach Pine Mountain Road in another 0.3 miles. Pine Mountain Road is a wide and rugged fire road.

Pine Mountain: The views along Pine Mountain Road as it ascends towards Pine Mountain are awesome. Even San Pablo Bay is visible.


Location: near 690 Cascade Drive, Fairfax, CA 94930 . Parking area is not visible in Google Maps.

Directions: In Fairfax, drive along Bolinas Road going west for 0.4 miles, turn right onto Cascade Drive. Drive for 1.5 miles to reach the park entrance. Parking is challenging to find along Cascade Drive. There are very few parking spots for visitors. If parking is not available along Cascade Drive, you may try parking along Canyon Road in Fairfax. There is a park entrance into Cascade Canyon from Canyon Road as well.

Google Maps:

Parking Fees: None (last visited: April 2012)

Capacity: Very few parking spots for visitors along Cascade Drive.

Latitude: 37.977949     Longitude: -122.613403


Trails close to the trailhead are adjoining creeks.

Happersberger - Cascade Canyon

Much of the route is along Happersberger Trail, which is shaded throughout and through Cascade Canyon Road which is a wide fire road offering panoramic valley views.

© Copyright 2008—2020, Gurmeet Manku.