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Palomarin Trailhead to Alamere Falls Trail

MODERATE 185 reviews
#1 of 46 trails in

Palomarin Trailhead to Alamere Falls Trail is a 8.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bolinas, CA 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.

8.1 miles 1227 feet Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

beach

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

no dogs

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 (I like to call it ocean lake, as it sits just above the ocean), 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. Enjoy!!


21 hours ago

Absolutely love this hike! Some words of advise though, I often hear and read a lot of reviews of people saying they pass the waterfall trail and have to turn around and backtrack to to the narrow left hand trail that is sometimes marked by stones or sticks "falls" or "waterfall". I'd highly recommend to pass up that "short cut" as I like to call it and continue north after about a 1/4-1/2 miles further you come to a "Y" in the trails, one seems to lead up hill and the other down. The left is more manicured than the right but they both lead to the same place. I usually go right. They eventually lead down hill to past some camp sites and to the beach. You literally just walk onto the beach rather than descending down a mountains cliff if you were to take the "shortcut". After you reach the beach turn left and walk the shore about a mile where you will reach the falls. This way makes for a longer hike and it's way less crowed. After I soak up the beauty of the waterfall & ocean, eat a snack and usually take a little nap on the beach, I start climbing the mountain just beside the falls and start my return trip back on the "short cut".


4 days ago


4 days ago

hiking

Hit this trail early on a weekday to avoid crowds. We were the first (and only ones) on the beach for a long time. And were only joined by two other people the entire trip. Made this a very enjoyable experience. This is a long hike in and back -- but the payoff is huge at the end. Be really careful climbing down to the beach, not an easy climb down or up for anyone who isn't mobile or able to pull up their own body weight.


6 days ago

hiking

I've hiked this trail many times over the past 1/2 decade and it definitely gets more crowded over the years. The water also flow much less than when I first hiked this trail. Nevertheless, it's a very nice and easy/moderate trail for a day hike and takes about 3.5-4 hours round trip.


13 days ago

hiking

A great trail with amazing coastal views, 2 lakes, and the multi-tier waterfalls and beach waiting for you at the end. Get there early, parking fills up very quickly. The rocky scramble down to the beach may be a bit much for some but worth the climb back up.


17 days ago

hiking

Stunning trail! I recommend going in the spring when the falls are fuller, but we still had a great time in October. Tons of great vistas on the way. This is a top-notch day hike. There is nowhere to refill water, so being plenty with you. I would recommend about two litres, maybe more depending on the amount of sun when you go. Bring an outfit to change into after- trust me on this one. You'll be dusty and sweaty, and a fresh pair of clothes makes the ride home infinitely better. Finding the trailhead can be tricky, as locals remove signs leading into Bolinas to keep tourists out. Follow your map closely...


24 days ago

Such a beautiful view!!! loved it ❤️


24 days ago


25 days ago

hiking

great trail, lots of shade and beautiful views!! Yes, missed the water fall trail by a mile ... grrr!! Did a little rock climbing to get to the water fall omg crazy!! Other then that we loved it and would do it again!!!


29 days ago

loved this trail! lots of shade


1 month ago

hiking

A good hike with plenty of shade. The trail to the waterfall isn't well marked and we ended up about a mile past it before turning back. Parking can be a nightmare if you're not there early (we parked in the lot around 8:30am).


1 month ago

hiking

Great hike and even better waterfall at the end


1 month ago


1 month ago


1 month ago

hiking

This trail has too much traffic to be enjoyable. Many points are narrow so you need to wait to pass. We had many people with personal speakers. How did this become acceptable to do? Nobody wants to go out on a trail and listen to your music.


1 month ago

hiking

Got there around 11:30- parking lot was full so parked alongside the road. That added 15-20mins to the hike each way. Parking was free and Park Rangers there to help! Hike was easy, long but relatively flat. The best part is the climb down to the beach to see the falls trickle into the ocean. You will be using your hands and legs for this. Going down wasn't bad, especially in hiking boots. Going up isn't bad but you'll need long limbs or a buddy to pull you up. Bring sunglasses because there's a strong breeze blowing sand into your face. Falls supplied by spring so there is water all year round. Highlight of hike is beach and falls. Give yourself time to roam the beach and/or sunbathe!


1 month ago

hiking


1 month ago

hiking

I used to backpack this trail when I was in middle school. We had an awesome teacher (Wimberg) that took his students on backpacking trips. We would start at Palomarin trailhead and hike to Wildcat Camp. On the way back, we would hike down the beach, up Alamere Falls and then back to the trailhead. When we would leave, we were very organized about how we went up the falls. We had spotters and we all helped each other out. The path up/down the falls is very dangerous. Safety was paramount. Now many years later I decided to hike the trail to the falls with my fiancé and our 7-year-old daughter.

We chose a very busy holiday weekend to hike this trail (were stupid). The parking lot was full when we arrived at 9am and I hear this is the case on most weekends. The trail was unbelievably crowded though. The trail is still the beautiful coastline trek that it always was. One thing I did notice was a lot of trash on the trail, and lots of TP right off the trail where people went to the bathroom. This made me sad because it takes away from the beauty of the trail. Also, the large groups of people consisted of some experienced hikers, but lots of inexperienced beginners and even some obnoxious a-holes. If you are looking for a peaceful and serene experience do this trail on a weekday or extremely early.

The path to the falls isn’t marked well so make sure to take a photo of the trail map the is located in the first mile of the trail. The Alamere falls cuts off the Palomrin trail to a narrow path. It finally opens up to a beautiful waterfall overlooking the ocean.

The path up/down the falls is dangerous, but add a bunch of inexperienced hikers with beers in hand wearing Toms and you get a lot of anxiety. I was SMH when I saw the crowds attempt to go/up and down with no organization whatsoever. There were so many people trying to get down and go up at the same time it made this part suck. The path up/down can be navigated safely but it requires care and forethought.
Once we got down, the beach and falls were beautiful (as I remember) but the large crowds of people definitely made it less enjoyable. We stayed down on the beach for about an hour and then hiked back up the falls through the chaos.

If you need another reason to skip the crowds, some A-hole took a crap on one of the bridges near the trailhead. It was too big to be a dog. I guess he thought he was funny but I would have loved to catch him with his pants down and thrown his ass in all of the poison oak.

Oh yea, forgot to mention, there was TONS of poison oak. It is avoidable but be aware it is everywhere. Know how to spot it so you can steer clear.

All in all, this trail is approx 5 miles in and 5 miles back. It is beautiful and not too challenging (except up/down the falls). Go on a weekday if you want to experience all this trail has to offer. Go on a holiday if you want to experience large crowds and crap on bridges.


1 month ago

hiking

Beautiful trail all the way there and back.