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Alamere Falls via Coast Trail from Palomarin Trailhead

moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1884)
Point Reyes National Seashore

Alamere Falls via Coast Trail from Palomarin Trailhead is a 13.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Bolinas, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Length 13.8 mi Elevation gain 1,955 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Beach Forest Lake Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Bugs Over grown Rocky No dogs
Description
Waypoints (8)
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Getting There

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 optional unmarked shortcut trail to the falls. It's about 4 miles up. There's a little rock climbing involved at the end. The climb down to the falls is not maintained by the National Park service. It can be very dangerous. Please be cautious and wear the correct clothing and shoes. Many people get hurt and have to be airlifted out because they can not make the hike back out.

Parking is availible at the Palomarin staging area

Forks in the road: 1) Shortly after two miles into the trip is the first fork in the road make sure to stay left. 2) Around 3.6 miles will be the second major fork in the trail splitting three ways. Take the trail straight towards Alamere Falls. Take layers, it can get windy and during colder months when the sun goes down the temperature drops quickly, bring a least two bottles of water and boots are suggested over tennis shoes as it can be rocky and muddy in places. in late winter early spring whales migrate past here, there are bobcats, endangered salamanders and an other wildlife, early Spring is alive with flowers. POISON OAK WARNING; The "unmanned" trail to the falls has poison oak along most of the .5 miles. Any time of year is a good time to take this trip.

Directions from Five Brooks, Highway 1: Park at Five Brooks, which is south of Olema, on Highway 1. Bike or hike 6.7 miles on Stewart Trail to Wildcat Camp.

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Reviews (1891)
Photos (2965)
Recordings (1463)
Completed (5035)
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Kimberly Schreiber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 20, 2020
HikingBugs

WATCH OUT BEES! If you are allergic, bring an epi pen. We were suddenly swarmed on the trail and three of us had multiple bee stings. Other than that, it was totally awesome! Swam in the ocean and then the lake - very refreshing and stunning scenery

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Juliana Davalos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 3, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

Amazing! But a bit of a struggle going down and back up to and from the fall.

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Dawn Whitmire
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 27, 2020
HikingGreat!

just mowed so the trail was clear. not sure if we saw the falls.if so, they are smaller than before. still beautiful!!! the short cut through the maze was awesome!!!!legs were tired by the time we got back to the car. Good day hike!!!

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tashi yangzom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 25, 2020
HikingGreat!

On 09/22/20:- Easy and very pretty long trail. Need at least 5-6 hours. Coast trail is not closed as mentioned in the AllTrails app. Most exciting part is by the beach to walk down the steep cliff and climb up the cliff...!Alamere falls is much smaller than 5 years ago, maybe the timing...? Highly recommended..!

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Jayson Hefner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
Hiking

As of 9/21, the parking lot next to the trailhead was open and accessible. This is an amazing out and back hike which you can incorporate a lake swim in the middle of it! The pre-existing rock arrow that shows the correct path to take to the falls is no longer there, so seeing the tunnel to go under to get to the off shoot trail is hard. The best way to look for it is to start looking at the ground after 1/2 miles past the lake, and look for rocks in a pile and a sliver of trail under a tunnel of trees to the left. There are a lot of parts that are overgrown, so long pants and shirts may be the way to go. Enjoy the hike!

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Luciano Gianola
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Hiking
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Cindy K
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 16, 2020
HikingBugsRocky

If you’re not an experienced hiker, it’ll be pretty tough for you since the whole trip is 20 miles which took 7 hours for us to complete. Overall, I don’t think it’s worth it to walk all the way there to see the waterfall, it wasn’t that great. For directions: first we parked at the lot Mesa road where there’s a gate saying road closed so we started walking for around 1 hour until we get to the start of the hike trail. It’ll then take another 1.5 hour to walk the whole trail until you see an arrow made of rocks and branches on the ground directing you into a sketchy grass tunnel, another 30 mins to walk thru and then climb down steep cliff rocks to get to a mini waterfall. The big waterfall is way down but there was a giant dead fish and seaweed all around with a lot of flies surrounding them which smelled pretty bad. On the hike back, we ran out of water and it was completely not a great experience for me as someone who doesn’t exercise a lot. I even almost fainted with the hot weather and dehydration but the only way back is to walk since there aren’t any cars allowed inside the gate.

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Carlo Flores
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Hiking
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Kabir Sinth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 12, 2020
HikingBugs

Hiked 8/10 trail is still open but they really have a gate for your car to park further away from the actual start line which is an extra 2.75 miles walk before you even get to the actual parking lot of the trail smh. Park rangers are posted at the gate before you start your journey casually trying redirect to other hiking spots but are okay with you coming in. Once you get towards the welcome sign that’s when your real hike begins going through a Muir Woods type of vibe. Occasionally look down on the ground for an arrow shape sign that’s made out of sticks and rocks that will lead you to where the Falls is at. There’s no sign that says Alamera Falls so follow the sticks and arrows which leads to a small entrance with bushes and trees that’s what your gonna be heading otherwise if you keep going straight on the official trail you’re gonna end up at Ocean lake and having to turn back. At the end, the view is worth it but the mini water falls on top of the big one is actually better.

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Veronica Morelos
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2020
Hiking

The hike from the gate where the road is closed to the falls and back was 20.6 miles. My phone died . Great hike but not for beginners.

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caesarae Jimenez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
WalkingGreat!Rocky

Hike 8/9 The previous hiker (Jenna) who left a review is spot on. Arrive early, we arrived at 855am and we where the last cars to enter the small parking lot that holds about 30 cars. The rangers arrived 20 minutes later and blocked the parking lot. There are 2 restrooms. One at this parking lot and another at the entrance of the trail. This was our first "long" hike. We normally hike moderate trails about 5 miles long. I brought my 10 and 12 year old and we completed it in 7 hours. **Important** Bring alot of water and snacks for energy!!! We each brought 60 oz of water and 2 Gatorade bottles and barely had enough. Good shoes with grip is also very important. Enjoy, the ocean+woods= Spectacular

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Jenna Sexton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

8/9 Hike Parking: Parking for this trail is still on Mesa Rd., but it is further away than indicated in a previous post. I believe the parking lot is about 2.5 miles out. In addition, you need to get to the parking lot early. I arrived around 8:30 a.m. and the parking lot was almost full. WARNING: After the hike a park ranger was at the front gate/parking lot turning people away and recommending other hikes. She had placed cones in front of the parking lot’s entrance. Some people parked further up the road... I’m guessing they had a 3.5 to 4 mile hike to the trail head. Wildlife: Lizards and birds, but I don’t know enough about birds to identify. Trail: I took the long route to the falls and the shortcut back. The shortcut was fine going up, but it looked sketchy for those coming down - steep, broken, gravel like rocks that lack grip. However, the top of the waterfall has two additional small waterfalls. Probably not worth the risk if you aren’t into rock climbing a little or are wearing tennis shoes. Quite a bit of shade on the hike, but still wear your sunscreen. Masks: Probably about 40% of people wearing masks.

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Juan Chavez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

The Parkinglot was still closed and the hike to the trail was 2.5 miles which made the hike a lot longer than it really was! The app also kept turning off on me and there were other issues but the hike is so worth it! There was also a short cut right after the first lake. If you look down you will find an arrow to the falls and saves you a lot of time but does require some climbing.

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Yen Ha
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

It was majestic all around. We decided to hike all the trails before ending at the Alamere Falls. it was a grueling 20+ miles but worth the effort.

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DJ JyM
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HikingGreat!
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Zhengqi Yang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 26, 2020

As of July 25, you can park as close as 999 Mesa Rd, Bolinas, CA, which is 0.4 mile away from the trail head parking. I was there around 9am and the lot is almost full. There were very few people on my way to the fall but very crowded on my way back. Otherwise it was a great hike!

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Lloyd Kahn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 20, 2020
HikingClosedOver grownScramble

July 20, 2020 Update: Be aware: the road to the parking lot is closed by the Park Service for the forseeable future, making it a 6 hour hike to the falls from the closed gate. Contrary to reports of an "easy" trail , erosion and scant traffic make the trail very difficult at spots. Getting down to the beach from the creek is now semi hazardous. (It didn't used to be.) Definitely not for small children.

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Mandy L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 20, 2020
HikingClosedOff trailOver grownScramble

Lots of conflicted emotions with this hike. It’s my 3rd time doing it and every time (2 pre-COVID) it’s crowded with a lot of hikers who you can tell don’t know trail etiquette. Now with COVID precautions it’s even more noticeable. Bring a mask to protect yourself because 80% of people aren’t wearing them and in parts the trail does go down to single track but most of the trail is fairly open. Huge signs saying Bolinas is closed to visitors; Mesa Road, Alamere Falls, and Olema Hwy are all closed - this is a road construction sign but there is no road construction. Parking looks allowable along Mesa Road about 2.5 miles out from the trailhead near a parking lot, unfortunately as we came back from the hike yesterday the Ranger was angry at all the people and told us no one should be parking where we did and it’s closed. However, trail is open with CDC guidelines poster and bathrooms are open and maintained so that feels confusing for the message being sent to the public. Our car didn’t get a ticket or towed but the ranger told us it doesn’t matter how many people are doing it - still not allowable apparently. I dunno... Trail is well maintained as usual; some overgrown spots but that’s to be expected with the months it was closed out. The green arrow is there about 4.1 miles in from the trailhead to take the cheater trail to scramble down versus through wildcat. If you go because you want to see the falls just remember not everyone wants to hear your music, wear a mask, be cool, and keep some distance. We all want to have a good time so let’s do our part to keep the trails open by complying, just my soap box preach for the moment.

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Breanna Esche
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 19, 2020
HikingOver grown

Was able to park before 8 AM in a small lot about 2.5 miles from the trailhead, followed AllTrail’s route to the falls and then decided to take a shortcut by climbing up back onto the main trail from the beach instead of going out and back. With the added mileage of walking to and from the trailhead for the car and with the shortcut, it was 17 miles. A lot of overgrown areas of the trail, tons of trash (fishing nets, water bottles, sh*t tickets and wrappers). Please clean up after yourself when you hike!!! Overall a nice hike, would recommend doing early in the morning to get parking as close as possible. Only bathrooms are at the trailhead, some also at Wildcat Camp (but unsure if open here). Lots of bunnies, banana slugs, quail and along the beach washed up jellies, enjoy!

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Avish Jadwani
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

Point Reyes is amazing place to go from San Francisco. Don't miss tree tunnel, ship wreck point and elephant seals when you visit here. Here's a video to get a glimpse of this beautiful place : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zz-TyuTrn2c

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Evelin Rybin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
HikingOver grownRockyScramble

It was a great hike. We had to park approx 2.5 miles away from the trailhead because the road was closed. If you are not familiar with the area (like we were) bring a map or take a picture of the map at the trailhead. We ended up getting lost in all of the side trails, however we were able to find the right one and made it to the falls. There is a green arrow that is sparypainted on the trail pointing to the shortcut. We missed it but got lucky and found another small trail that connected with the shortcut trail. Although it turned into a 17 mile hike, it is definitely worth it. Lots of beautiful views along the way (maybe that's why we missed the arrow in the first place). A lot of gradual uphill/downhill walking ending with a cliff requiring scrambling. Be prepared to workout your calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes. Totally worth it though

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