Cataract Falls Trail
Location: Stinson Beach
Located north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Cataract Falls Trail has something for everyone. Take a leisurely stroll along the shaded trail, or pick up the pace for a surprisingly hefty outdoor cardio workout. Since the first mile and a half of the trail is set on an incline, it’s easy to get your heart racing as you cross the creek and pass by beautiful waterfalls. You’ll eventually walk past a picnic area and descend towards the falls before turning around for the trek back.
Meet up with the trailhead near Bolinas-Fairfax Road after seeing Alpine Lake, and continue on the 3.3-mile trail for the full route. Make sure to bring water and wear layers, as this mostly shaded trail warms up quickly as you gain 750 feet in elevation during the first mile alone.
While the falls are best seen in early spring after heavy rains, the scenery is pleasant to look at year-round. Bring your pup on a leash if you’d like, and enjoy the fresh air together.
Crystal Springs Regional Trail
Location: San Mateo
The Crystal Springs Regional Trail stretches 15.3 miles, passing by the Coast Range ridge, Crystal Springs Reservoir, and San Andreas Lake. This scenic pathway is so stunning that it’s easy to get in an outdoor leg workout without even realizing it.
Tucked along the San Andreas Fault, this trail is surprisingly lush and filled with life. Chaparral trees and old-growth Douglas-fir forests come to life with a slight breeze, as the ducks and squirrels play in the places they call home. The oak trees provide shade to the hundreds of bird species that pass through, plus the deer, coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions that make occasional appearances.
Along with the beauty of the region, this trail is a perfect place for outside exercises because it’s broken into three sections, making it a rather accessible destination. It also welcomes a wide range of activities—including walking, distance running, biking, skating, and horseback riding—making it a viable option no matter which muscles you’re hoping to tone. Perhaps the only downside to Crystal Springs Regional Trail is the pet restrictions, so make sure to leave Fido at home for this workout.