Alamere Falls via Coast Trail from Palomarin Trailhead

MODERATE 1,154 reviews

Alamere Falls via Coast Trail from Palomarin Trailhead is a 8.8 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.

DISTANCE
8.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,335 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

scramble

washed out

no dogs

Alamere Falls is a tidefall waterfall that flows into the ocean in Point Reyes National Seashore, northwest of San Francisco in Marin County. This popular Bay Area coastal hike can be reached via the Coast Trail from the Palomarin Trailhead. The parking area can be accessed at the end of Mesa Road outside of Bolinas. The trail offers great views of the Pacific Ocean - including the Farallon Islands on a clear day - as well as Bass and Pelican lakes. This is a well-marked coastal trail to Alamere Falls. When you get to the falls walk just past the top fall, cross over it and down to the other falls. Beach access is on the right down a manageable but unstable cliff. Do not attempt to go down during high tide as the shale rock is slippery and rogue waves can drag visitors into the surf. Long pants and sleeves are recommended as Poison Oak does grow along the trail. The trail is maintained by the National Park Service so check out one of the visitor centers for additional information. Be careful not to miss the unmarked trail to the falls. It's about 4 miles up. There's a little rock climbing involved at the end.

hiking
2 days ago

Go early!

Mostly flat and good for chatting. Average shape person will only get truly tired from the length of the hike.

The turn-off for the Falls is almost never easy to find. I've done this trail a number of times and have recently missed it and hiked about a mile past only to finally turn around. However, I think I saw some of the best sights on this trail because of my error.

The scramble to the beach is not for the feint of heart. It is by no means too difficult it is just that it takes some vertical dexterity, faith, and willingness to get a bit scraped up. Someone with any mobility issues may not be able to do it.

The area above it also very nice for your lunch so don't feel like you're missing out entirely. The beach area can get a little hairy with the tide so be careful.

hiking
4 days ago

This is a heavily trafficked trail so go early or, even better, go early on a weekday. The trail is very well maintained. The falls at the end of the trail are scenic but the trail out is also very enjoyable. Moderate or easy/moderate is an appropriate rating. Worth repeating.

5 days ago

So beautiful and really is a lightly moderate hike for distance and the bit down to the falls. But lots of people, and you have to go early to get parking.

hiking
10 days ago

I hiked this trail in May of 2017 with my 7 year old son and family. The terrain is super flat and really could be done in running shoes with grip on the sole. It is not difficult on the legs or anything (for an active person), but can difficult for someone who is not active but still doable!

We actually hiked the entire trail down to the beach, hung a left and kept walking down the beach to the falls. After, we climbed the rocks to the top and took the short cut back. This is not full 8 miles if you take the short cut, tbh. It can be slippery over the smaller water falls but doable.

The falls are spectacular and sitting at the edge overlooking the water is so peaceful. It is super trafficked, however, that was the only downside.

hiking
11 days ago

It was a beautiful hike. The hike itself was not bad what was somewhat difficult was climbing down to see the actual waterfall.

hiking
11 days ago

Very long hike but absolutely is worth to try. The only thing I would like to point out is after around two hours hiking there is a place you need to go into bushes otherwise you will not find Alamera falls.

13 days ago

Was brutal amazing

hiking
14 days ago

Great sights along trail to the falls- a few lakes. Pay attention to the turn off to the falls... currently marked with rocks in shape of arrow pointing to trail. Falls are worth the hike to get there.

hiking
17 days ago

First hike using this app! The place is easy to get to! Just make sure that you follow the yellow arrow into the small bush opening. That’s how you get to the waterfall. It’s easy to get lost and keep going straight. There are 3 levels to see the waterfall, top, middle and lower. They all take about 10 min each to get down. Watch out for snakes bathing in the sun!

hiking
20 days ago

Gorgeous trail with native Bishop Pines throughout. Can get a bit crowded during weekends. Lots of toilet paper/ trash along the trail June 2018.

hiking
22 days ago

Well laid out hike, definitely need to keep an eye out for the Alamere Falls trail. Someone recently put a yellow arrow on the ground to point in the right direction. The rock climbing and terrain make this more moderate in difficulty, otherwise not that steep of a hike. We really enjoyed it!

hiking
24 days ago

Waterfall is a pretty neat sight but if you're looking for a quiet hike, this is probably not your place at least on a weekend. Given that it's a heavily traveled trail, I saw quite a bit of trash and tried to pick up as much as I could. More of a stroll through the woods than a hike. I wore my heart rate monitor the whole time and I never got over 130 beats/min. Definitely take the time to check out the little ponds and lakes along the way, there are some neat microenvironments. One of the ponds is completely covered with a moss and almost looks like putting green. Once you get to the waterfall, you'll likely wait a little bit to get a shot of it that's not filled with people, but it is gorgeous and has some cool lichen growing along the sides. The climb down to the beach is totally doable but the rocks are pretty loose to tread carefully. The views were neat from the beach but encountered some pretty drunk kids that kind of ruined the vibe. Overall neat, but not a place I'd go to get away from the hectic life. Also if you do go, help out and pick up some trash.

hiking
26 days ago

Beautiful waterfall!

hiking
27 days ago

Don’t missed the secret entrance to the waterfall!

hiking
28 days ago

Scenic hike. Fairly easy without a lot of elevation gain or difficulty. It gets a 4-star simply because it is heavily trafficked. I tend to like more isolated trails. There's a bit of tourists out here doing the hike which clusters it up.

hiking
1 month ago

All I can say is WOW! This is hands down the hardest hit as well as the most amazing.
Why is it the hardest?
The terrain.. so wear SUPPORTIVE shoes.. actual hiking shoes seemed to be the shoes of choice!! There is poison Ivy towards the end but As long as your body is covered for that part you should be good
Why is it the most amazing?
So far it is because of the views, you get forest, ocean, lakes, beautiful trees and at the end a beach!! It was an all day hike for us because we laid out on the beach. Pack lots of water, clothes to get wet in if you didn’t want to go in the ocean or the waterfall and food to snack on.

I was sore for about 4 days but it was worth every ache and pain. I want to go back soon!

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail with varied ecosystems from shrubs to covered forest to sandy beach. It’s a well maintained dirt path, beginner level up until you get to the cliffs by the ocean at the upper falls which is what makes it intermediate. There’s some scrambling down rocks for about 100 m (that you’ll have to climb back up upon return). If you’re a beginner take your time, have good treaded shoes, and you should be fine! The small offshoot path to the falls near the end is easy to miss and surrounded by head high foliage. Make sure to check a map or ask someone else. We arrived at 10 am on Saturday and still managed to get parking right outside of the parking lot. There were already a lot of people. This is a great hike to take your visiting hiker friends on. The upper and lower falls are fantastic! Watch out for poison oak at the last bit towards the falls. It WILL touch your clothing.

hiking
1 month ago

an easy walk, gorgeous views and fresh air! very busy trail, gotta start early to get some solitude and place by the falls

hiking
1 month ago

I had a blast on this trail, I got there at around 10 and had to park about a quarter mile from the trail head - although heading out I saw that cars were parked over a mile and a half down the road, so I consider myself luck that I had evening plans!

The trail has an excellent mix of covered and exposed hiking, I definitely recommend a hat and sunglasses. It winds over sea-side cliffs, through temperate groves and through underbrush tunnels (my personal favorite part of the hike was winding through the vegetation after the almost hidden turnoff.)

The trail itself is fairly well-maintained although I found a disappointing amount of fruit bar wrappers and even a lunchables container and water bottle (all of which I picked up and toted with me.) Bring a little bag to pick up stray trash and pack out any trash you have with you and everyone can enjoy the trail a little more.

I found it enjoyable that so many people from all over the place were hiking to the beach. I even saw a teenager with a giant flamingo innertube! But I was fairly unbothered by the people, having arrived fairly early I was able to remain in my own bubble of solitary hiking for the majority of the trail.

Perfect weekend morning (early!) hike with lunch at the falls, planning on returning.

1 month ago

Awesome moderate hike. Make sure you go very early so you won’t have to park a mile away. Awesome views along the way. There is a shortcut to the waterfall which can easily be missed if you haven’t gone before. It is a little after 3.75 miles out. The shortcut will look like a small opening through the bush on your left. If you continue start however, you’ll end up at the beach regardless. It’s just another mile or two out to the beach and once you reach the beach, you’ll have to hike another mile back to the waterfall. If you take the shortcut, you’ll have to go down the rocky mountain which could be pretty challenging. Make sure you got grippy shoes and never jump down from one area to another because that’s how I injured my right knee. It’s all better now but at that time, I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it back. :) The hike back is good just tiring because of all the fun you had at the beach drained the energy out of you. Loving couples you see at the beginning holding hands are probably separated now because one doesn’t want to wait for the other. Hahaha. have fun and be safe.

1 month ago

Great moderate hike. Beautiful wild flowers, breathtaking view of the oceans, birds and majestic trees were amazing to behold. The climb to the top of the falls is an added plus to the experience. Nature at its best!

1 month ago

A great hike with a variety of scenery. The climb down to the beach was a little difficult with people trying to go up and down at the same time. But other than that it is an amazing hike.

1 month ago

Such a breathtaking hike! The mix of costal and Forrest makes for a nice balance. Parking is a bit difficult so I would definitely recommend getting there early!

hiking
1 month ago

One of my favorite hikes. The landscape changes as trail progresses and it rewards you with a beautiful waterfall and beach. Ultimate hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, turn left after mile 4.6ish

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome views!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing! There is some rock climbing in the end but I I managed for a short person.

hiking
2 months ago

Excellent hike with a fantastic group of waterfalls at the end. The scramble down to the beach can be a little intimidating for folks new to hiking but if you take it slow and stay low to the ground you’ll be just fine.

2 months ago

Pretty treacherous hike at the end - on days following heavy rain, be prepared to cross a big stream with knee high water. Water shoes recommended though doable without. You then have to go down a bit of scramble. You'll be rewarded with an amazing waterfall that goes straight to the ocean.

Make sure to use your GPS to find the trailhead 4 miles in, entrance is a bit hidden. Last time somebody had helpfully placed a paper with an arrow pointing to the trailhead but don't expect to be so lucky.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a beautiful and relaxing hike. The fall was beautiful. The hike itself was pretty easy, until you get to the fall. Hiking down and up to get to the beach was hard because it was mainly rock climbing. Don’t forget to follow the arrow because it leads you to the fall.

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