Alamere Falls via Coast Trail from Palomarin Trailhead

moderate 1937 reviews

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.

Distance: 13.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,955 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

beach

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

over grown

rocky

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 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.

hiking
muddy
off trail
scramble
5 days ago

Great trail! Went right after a week of rain so some parts of the trail were muddy or washed out. The trail to the waterfall was hard to see so I went up about another mile up a hill but the view from the top of that hill made it 1000% worth it. Would definitely recommend. Hit the waterfall on my way back and it was okay but more of a tourist thing than anything else. I thought the view from the hill was better and it has a bench where I ate lunch. Will be back again soon.

6 days ago

A fun hike with lots of people despite a long drive into Point Reyes and a pretty long walk to the falls. The shortcut was great, but (like others mentioned) it was not well marked. For us, we found that someone had laid some tree branches down to point it out. It was just beyond Pelican Lake. It was definitely dangerous going down the rocks to get to there beach if you take the shortcut, so go very slowly.

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful hike. Check the tides before you go. I got there at sunrise on Presidents’ Day and had no problem finding a great parking spot. Watch out for the newts if you get there that early. They were still out and I almost stepped on a few.

hiking
rocky
16 days ago

A lot of people are talking about the short cut. So how do u know where’s the short cut? So while you’re walking the trail u would come across an arrow that’s made of rocks it will point u to the direction to go to the falls. Once u get to the fall you will be on top of the fall then you have to work your way down to the beach using your hands and feet that’s where it gets physical. I took the long way to the camp and walk along the beach to the falls then I took the short cut back to where I started. Total miles 13. If you take the short cut and back about 8miles.

19 days ago

a great hike around 9 miles if you use short cut a little bit of everything ocean views forest like settings a little rock claiming if you do the short cut which i did harder going down the buff than going up

hiking
24 days ago

Hiked on 2/3/20. Started from the Palomarin trailhead and took the unmaintained shortcut to the falls. It saved considerable time, although I see why the park service discourages its use. The last 30-foot scramble down the cliff is doable but very sketchy - it’s steep, there’s lots of loose scree to slip on, and the rock that you’re using for hand and footholds breaks easily. Still, it only took us about 1.5 hours to the shortcut and another 25 minutes from there down to the beach (at a moderate pace with stops for photos); the return trip took about 1.5 hours going back the way we came, so it made for a nice half-day hike. Taking the shortcut also lets you see the top of the falls, which is quite pretty. The “official” part of the trail is well-maintained. The forested parts are cool and shady, and the exposed parts are rocky with views of the ocean. The poison oak is easily avoidable if you just stay on the trail, but you’ll definitely be brushing against the foliage if you take the shortcut as that portion is unmaintained and narrow. Overall a great hike. Make sure to time your departure (whichever route you take) so that you arrive at the falls during a time of low tide. Just google the tide table for Wildcat Beach.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Amazing hike. We took a shorter route to Alamere falls after about 4 miles. Took about 4 hours in total. The trail was muddy at some patches. Not to difficult. Kids can do it. If you want to get down to ocean floor, please plan to go on the day of low tide. Overall, great hike.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Really good trail! I recommend checking out the surf report before going if your intention is to get down to the beach to see the lower waterfall. Very beautiful hike! Would totally do it again! Do keep an eye out for the arrow to point you to the falls we missed the entrance somehow but made our way to it.

muddy
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Arrived 11am on a Monday and the Palamarin trailhead parking lot was a zoo. I didn't realize it was a holiday! Follow signs for the coast trail. You can take the shortcut to the falls through the "hobbit hole" in the bushes marked with rocks placed like an arrow (I'll upload a photo) but the hike down to Wildcat camp via ocean lake loop trail (go left at the fork) has some very nice views of the coastline including the waterfall. The walk along the beach to the base of the falls is peaceful but make sure you plan to be there during low tide. There were less crowds when I left the falls by 3pm. I climbed up the rocks at this point to save going all the way back. It's pretty steep but easy enough going up (I'd be a bit nervous to come down that way). After taking more photos of the mini waterfalls at the top, I took alamere falls trail back up to the main coast trail to the parking lot. Took roughly 3 hours there and 2 hrs back using the short cut. Amazing hike but bring lots of water and snacks!

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked these last june 2019. Fair amount of hikers. Mostly shaded trail. Lots of rocks on certain part of the trail otherwise its pretty smooth all the way down.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail- would of been better if I got to see the falls that I hiked 4 hours to see! By the time we got to the beach, which was the way the signs made it seem we had to go, tide was coming in and we would not of made it there and back before being stuck. Wished I would of taken a BETTER picture for map purposes, we went uphill on so many hills we could of avoided. Bring lots of water and snacks! I got a tad dehydrated, I only brought 20oz of water, definitely needed more. Plan to spend most of your day for this hike.

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

I was just here on new year's day. We got here around 8:30, plenty of parking space. I forgot how long it took me the first time but this time it took us around 5 hours round-trip. We did end up taking the shortcut via the arrow made of rocks to the falls but couldn't go all the way down because of high tide. The trip was sunny and a bit windy at times. It did get cloudy as we got closer to the beach but it was so much fun! The trail was a bit muddy at some points, so navigate through carefully and you won't get mud all over your shoes. On the way down around 11:30 there were so many people and when we got back to the lot around 2, parking was filled so please head out early. The experience is so much better when you're not surrounded by a flood of people and loud music, which I don't really get. There are so many opportunities to listen to your music on your own time and not enough to listen to the birds and bugs and wind and sea, take the time to just experience and enjoy the walk. I found that the trail was not as dirty as my first time but I did carry a little bag and picked up whatever trash there was on the way back down. Please pick up after yourselves!

The app glitches so it didn’t accurately record but we did an 8.5 mile hike in 4 hours. Got to the parking lot early so easy finding a spot. By min afternoon when we left it was packed. There are salamanders along the trail so watch your step when the trail turns to mostly a pine needle bed. There was a cut off to Alameda Trail, marked by a rock arrow on the ground, took that through a poison oak tunnel (fun!) and about .5 miles down we were at the top of the falls. Bit if a scramble down a muddy wall but it was fun and totally worth the views of the falls. All trails says to go around and puts you at the bottom of the main falls on the beach but if it’s high tide you won’t be able to get to the beach.

hiking
2 months ago

Lovely walk suited to a dry sunny day. The path can get a bit muddy if it rains. Follow AllTrails app’s guide. However we went straight to the waterfalls instead of going further and entering the waterfall via the beach. Turned out to be a good decision because if the tide is high it is not possible to walk on the beach to the waterfalls.

hiking
2 months ago

The beautiful lakes along the way were a delight! I definitely advise going to Wildcat Camp and hiking along the beach to get to the falls. You have the gorgeous beach all to yourself. I saw seals, shorebirds, and plants on the way. Don't take the off-trail shortcut to the falls. It's dumb, less scenic, and messes with the park's ecology. The trail via Wildcat is so much better.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Pretty dope trail, with amazing views! It was mostly easy but there were a few rough patches, however pushing through is definitely worth it! Also The side trail is NOT marked there is an arrow made out of stones, so you have to look out for that or you’ll miss it & have to take the long way. Pack snacks, and make sure you have plenty water. I would recommend doing a little research before just jumping in on this one! But overall I definitely recommend doing it at least once

Great long hike. Got to the trail early around 8:30. The trail had different terrains, sand, rocks, gravel, and dirt. Lots of trees and shade. This was beautiful all the way through. The climb down to the waterfall was a little dangerous but so worth it.

Amazing views. Mostly easy but worth pushing through on those difficult patches.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

One of the most amazing views in a hike. The trail does get quite rocky and dusty. Recommend carrying a sweatshirt. The beach views are out of the world. Must do.

hiking
4 months ago

Yeah this hike is a bit long but it’s definitely worth it! Lots of shade and the views of the ocean, lakes, and the waterfall is very nice.

hiking
4 months ago

99% of the trail is pretty easy (well graded, slopes are gentle, wide trail). The side trail is easy to miss. Use your GPS/map and look for the cairn. The falls were nice. I timed badly for tide, so decided it was not safe to go down to the beach. Only exception to "easy" is the last bit of scramble down to the falls. It is kind of fun. There are too many goddamn people on this trail hiking to an Instagram feature. So many people in their cutest athletic wear and full makeup. These same people don't seem to understand Leave No Trace. There is an unbelievable amount of used TP along the trail and behind every tree. People. That. is. nasty. Carry a plastic bag and pack out your TP. Bury your feces in a 6" cathole. There is also a ton of graffiti on trees and bridges throughout. Finally, there are a ton of people carrying phones playing music and carrying on on large groups. Very annoying. Due to its popularity, parking fills early on weekends. I got there at 9:15am on a Sunday and just barely got a space in the lot because I have a small car. Go on a week day very early and you might find this more enjoyable. Also check tide schedules.

hiking
5 months ago

This trail was perfect. Enough shade on a sunny day and a nice breeze from the coast. And it was a good workout! Be careful not to miss the side trail to the falls: it is a very unexpected path through some brush. It was marked with an arrow in rocks so look for that, it’s worth it!

hiking
5 months ago

I’m planning to do this hike in 2 weeks . Recommend where to start ? And is there good photo op of waterfalls . My email is kpham7786@yahoo.com thank you

hiking
scramble
5 months ago

Today's hike was a little warm in places yet the trail was generally shaded. at about 4 mile point look for stones on trail in shape of an arrow pointing to narrow tunnel through the brush...that is the way to the falls. Miss that and you will have a much longer hike plus miss the featured falls. Very enjoyable hike. We started at 11:30 which was a little late and hot at beginning and end.

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