Hike to Alamere Falls

Details

Distance

15.59 miles

Elevation Gain

1614 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Jake Young

Alamere Falls via the Palomarin Trailhead is a hike to a beautiful and rare waterfall (tidefall), plummeting 40ft until it reaches the ocean. Enjoy stunning views of the pacific combined with varying terrain through forests, tall brush, and exposed dirt trails. If you hike to falls during the summer, take a swim in Bass Lake on the way back to the trailhead.

The hike to Alamere falls is a 12.2 mile out-and-back in Point Reyes National Seashore. Start at the Palomarin Trailhead located in the parking lot near the restrooms. After about 2 minutes on the trail, you'll see a map on your right that lays out the trail to the falls as well as a few campground (Sky, Wildcat, etc.). Don't be afraid to take a picture of the map if you're worried about getting lost or bring a copy of the map from the NPS website (it never hurts to have a reference). From there, the trail connects with Coast Trail and is pretty straight forward as you head to the falls. For the first couple of miles, the trail is fairly exposed and can get warm on sunny days. The second half of the hike prior to reaching the coast is covered and wooded.

To help maintain the natural area around the falls and to ensure a safer hike for you and anyone with you, the National Park service recommends that you hike to Wildcat Camp and then take the beach south back toward the waterfall. Once you get to the falls, take in the scenery, snap a few photos, and refuel, then it's back on the trail the way you came. If you want to cool off on the way back, stop at Bass Lake and go for a swim!

There is an optional shortcut to this hike, but it is not recommended or maintained by the National Park Service. There is a small trail with shrubbery and potential for contact with poison oak. As you get to the top of the falls, there are two steep parts. The first takes you just above the main part of the falls, where there are a few smaller waterfalls. From here, head further down the trail to get to the beach; this is where the main waterfall is located. This last descent is slippery with loose gravel and can get very crowded at times making this a very challenging area. 

If you're looking to grab a bite after this long trek, head to Mill Valley, specifically Avatars for some Punjabi burritos.

This hike is NOT dog friendly. No drones are allowed. 

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Some Updates

The hike in April 2018 was fantastic. A couple things to be aware of: 1. There is significant poison oak all along the trail, and lining extremely close-in passages at some points. Long pants & shirts highly recommended 2. The turnoff from the Coast Trail out to the falls currently has no sign or marking, and is not easily distinguished from other small turnouts. Keep a close eye on the map and don't be afraid to ask other hikers you see, so you don't miss the turn.

Great Place

Great place for a quick get away. The drive to the location is amazing with lots of twists and turns. The hike itself isn’t hard. It has a lot of nature and beautiful trees and plants on the route to the waterfall. The waterfall itself is the reward of the walk. It is absolutely beautiful.

Hard But Rewarding

One morning I woke up eagerly for adventure. My boyfriend who has done Alamere Falls hike before told me about it and I had my mind set on it. I called couple other friends to come with who were also excited for adventure. We drove along the coast through Stinson Beach and Bolinas to where the trails begins. After we parked we read the warning signs where the trail map was shown and stated that people do get hurt during the hike. In my opinion the hike is not bad at all. It doesn't have steep hills to conquer, the road was pretty flat. As you walk on the trail you are surrounded by beautiful trees and plans and to top that your view is ocean! It is very easy to miss the left turn into a different trail that takes you directly to waterfall. Calculating, if you walked more than 5 miles you went too far. About 5 miles ratio is where I would look for left turn into Alamere Falls trail. It isn't obvious turn and it looks like you are diving into the bushes crunching down. Don't be alarmed. It's the right place. From there you have less than a mile to the Falls. Hiking down to waterfall is a challenge but slowly you can do it. I would be very careful because it's super slippery but what helps is hiking down by seating down. Take one step at the time and don't hurry. You have all time in the world to make there safely. My boyfriend and I worked closely together as a team by pulling and pushing each other up or down. The adventure is hard at that moment but you got to trust your body and mind and believe that you can do it. Bring tons of water. That's number 1 thing. I found being thirsty all the time especially going back. You forget that you have are half way done when you reach the Falls and you got to walk 6 miles back to your car. Bring snacks and sunscreen and hat! Most of all down forget to have fun because adventures are supposed to be hard and fun.

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4.5/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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