Palomarin Trailhead to Alamere Falls Trail is a 8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bolinas, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
From the Palomarin Trailhead Hike along the beautiful coast to Alamere Falls. Stop along the way and explore the small lakes. When you get to Bolinas take Mesa road to the end - the last 1.5 miles is graded not paved. The trail head is well marked on the right side of the parking lot (Palomarin Trailhead). Begin your hike with a peak of the ocean through a grove of trees. As the trail winds to the right and back towards to coast your first full view of the ocean appears. The trail follows the coast with spectacular views of the ocean, Marin coastline and the Farallon islands (on a clear day). Continue as the trail leaves the coast and winds though a forest and past Bass Lake and Pelican Lake. Continue on for about a .5 mile along the coast to a sign marking Alamere Falls .4 miles. The trail is well marked and traveled. As you approach the falls the pounding surf first gets your attention. When you get to the falls which are four tiered, walk just past the top fall, cross over it and down to the other falls, beach access is on the right down a not so stable cliff, but manageable. I would not suggesting going down during high tide as the shale rock is slippery and there are sneaker waves that can take you away. A lot of people relax here and have lunch. The hike back is every bit as scenic.
Awesome hike!! Hiking shoes recommended but not necessary
Huge waterfall into the ocean. Go after a good rain.
We hiked this trail on a foggy Saturday afternoon. Although views were limited, the foggy atmosphere created its own beauty, too! With the recent rains, there were quite a few puddles and muddy spots in the trail, so waterproof shoes or a change of socks is definitely recommended!
We wanted a little more mileage, so we took the coast trail all the way to Wildcat Campground. We were sort-of checking along the way for the spur trail down the falls, just to gauge our progress... but we didn't see it on the way out. So, keep that in mind if you aren't planning the longer loop - the spur is not very well-marked. Followed the right fork/high road when we came to the trail marker for the loop to Wildcat. Checked out the campgrounds when we got there and encountered a biker who reminded us the tide was coming in if we planned to hike the beach to the falls (we did).
Quickly heading to the beach, we noticed the "Warning - Waves reach cliffs at high tide!" sign. Looking at the waves coming up just 20-30 feet from the cliffs, we knew we didn't have a ton of time and started jogging towards the first narrow point where we knew we could have issues keeping our feet dry. Once past that point, we began noticing all the small waterfalls down the cliffs and even some water bubbling out from cracks in the cliffs. Plenty of great photo ops along the way, and we took several despite being in a race against the tide.
About 1000 feet before you reach the falls, there is another narrow point, and by the time we got there, the heavier waves in each set were breaking onto the low rocks. We got up on the rocks, took off our shoes, waited for the set to end, and then sprinted around the corner to safety and walked the last few hundred feet to to falls barefoot.
The falls were roaring and the rolling fog created gorgeous views. While the temp was only about 60 degrees, the humidity made it feel much warmer and we peeled off layers for the return trip. After enjoying lunch, we put our shoes on and climbed the trail up the cliff to see the upper tiers of the falls. With the tide coming in, we got to see the waves crashing into the rocks beneath the falls from above - very cool vista. After getting all the photos we wanted, we began heading back to the main trail. It started sprinking, then raining in earnest, but with that high humidity it actually felt very refreshing and we let ourselves get wet for the last 3+ miles.
Overall, a really fun and scenic hike, not too strenuous despite being 11.4 miles. Trail is good solid dirt about 75% of the time, Rocky maybe 20%, and then the cliff climb up/down from the falls is a class 2-3 scramble - but not necessarily required for this hike. Total climb was about 1700 feet according to my Fenix3, but none of that is in huge segments more than maybe 150 feet at a time. Definitely recommend this hike to anyone!
Loved it !!
The hike is great and not strenuous. what's exciting is the path to the falls from the trail. While on the coast trail, look out for a small left turn into the bushes half a mile past the Pelican Lake. That path leads you to the stream. One can easily miss this - we did and we were told to turn back by a group which was returning. One has to make the leap across the stream as there's lots of water in the stream due to the rains as of now. after that you reach the cliff's end. the view can be scary and the terrain a bit sandy and fragile but you can climb down slowly and make your way to the falls.
carry lunch to eat while enjoying the lunch. carry change of shoes/socks, towels, etc in the case your feet get wet while crossing the falls flowing on the beach to get to the other side. start early (minimum 10 am) so that you can enjoy some time at the beach or the cliff and have lunch. parking is limited so starting early helps. the 8 mile out and back can be done in 3-4 hours but the climb down and up take some time. so plan to devote 6-7 hours for hike, climb up and down and spending time there. if you fast track, you can complete this in 4-5 hours.
also the road from the main road to the trailhead parking is unpaved and narrow so drive carefully.
fantastic hike, even on a rainy day! not too strenuous, and a great end point to stop for lunch. took 2 hours to the falls and 2 hours back at a leisurely pace