January 09, 2011

Carson Falls, Mount Tamalpais watershed

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Years ago I wouldn't have shared the secret and somewhat hard to get to Carson Falls in the northern Mount Tamalpais watershed.   But the secret is out -- just about everybody in Marin County knows about Carson Falls these days -- it's only the difficulty of getting there that keeps the masses away.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Directions?   You need directions?   Well, it's out the backside of Fairfax, California; on the long and twisty Fairfax-to-Bolinas Road, which snakes it's way over the skirts of Mount Tamalpais.   A mile or two out of town is the Pine Hill trailhead, and all you've got to do is make it to the top of Oat Hill and down the other side -- so that doesn't sound so bad, does it?   Oh gosh, it was a much easier climb when I was younger...

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The big news is that there is a new Carson Falls trail down the backside of Oat Hill -- the old trail was usually a muddy mess on an iffy hillside, but the California Conservation Corps has built a splendid new trail down to the falls through a delightfully mossy forest.

Carson Falls is seven falls in total, but the one shown here is the largest.   In the past this has been a popular skinny-dipping spot, but these days people are warned to keep out of the water to avoid disturbing the eggs of the Yellow Legged Frog.   There are also endangered Newts in the area.

The flow of water over Carson Falls slows to a trickle during summer months -- best time to see it gushing like this is just after a substantial rainstorm.

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Marcie said...

The 'banner' image is absolutely stunning. Love it!

photowannabe said...

Love the banner and love the falls, especially the mossy boulder. Good stuff again Don.

imhkki said...

great capture. The banner image is fantastic also.

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