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Visited on: March 20, 2016
Description: A great hike with waterfall after waterfall after waterfall… but make sure you go after a good amount of rain
Length: It really depends on the route you take. Our’s was only about 2.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation: ~680 feet
Duration: About 2 hours, depends on how far you hike
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Terrain: Dirt trails (can get muddy)
Wildlife: Salamanders? Newts? What’s the difference? And snakes
Parking: Rock Springs lot
Best time to visit: After a good amount of rain
Bring: Water, camera, snack, waterproof gear (if it’s raining)
Cataract Falls is best hiked after a good amount of rain. We’ve seen some pretty disappointing photos of the hike with trinkling waterfalls or nothing at all. We didn’t want to waste our time hiking to a dry waterfall (#hikesnobs ;P). After a week of rain, we decided it was time to leave our warm and cozy beds for a wet and cold adventure on a beautiful rainy day.
Cataract Falls can be an in and out hike or a loop. You can decide to complete the difficult part first and ease your way back or vice versa. Hoping to get the hard part out of the trip first, we headed toward Ridgecrest. We were only 2.5 miles away from the trailhead when we discovered the road was closed!
We were pretty upset and even decided to park our car and walk the rest of the 2.5 miles to the trailhead. Within minutes, a ranger stopped us in our tracks and made us turn around 😦 Luckily, he told us to park at Rock Spring lot and the hike would actually be shorter. Thank you Mister Rangerman!
From Rock Springs parking lot, we quickly headed to the Information Sign and continued forward, following the Cataract Trail.
The trail is very straightforward and the signs are easy to follow. There isn’t much to see until you’ve passed Laurel Dell.
After passing Laurel Dell, you’ll reach one of the waterfalls. The view from the railing is alright… If you want to get a better capture, carefully climb pass the railing and rocks and get as close as you comfortably can.
If this waterfall is good enough for you, feel free to go back. But this is only one of the main waterfalls on Cataract Trail. Hike a bit farther and you’ll hit another waterfall.
Continue on the trail and follow the steps until you reach a bridge. This is the main viewpoint that’s listed on Google Maps when you search Cataract Falls.
Moving forward and down more steps, you can see waterfall after waterfall after waterfall.
We weren’t really sure how much farther we should continue hiking because those steps were getting LONG and we were getting soaked from the rain. We were not looking forward to slushing our way back up the stairs. We decided to follow the creek a bit more just until it started to look less interesting. We were not disappointed with our decision to keep going. Multi-tiered waterfalls greeted us! It was insanely beautiful 😍
Like we’ve mentioned before, go after a good amount of rain! But if you just want a good workout and don’t care for waterfalls, you can hike Cataract Falls whenever you please. We like to explore waterfalls when we know it should be waterFALLING so we were not disappointed!
- It is VERY important you visit after a good amount of rain. Have we said this enough?
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