Alamere Falls via Coast Trail from Palomarin Trailhead

MODERATE 1,280 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

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

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 unmarked trail to the falls. It's about 4 miles up. There's a little rock climbing involved at the end.

hiking
6 days ago

great trail with lots of shade, views are wonderful. Only downside for me was that it was very crowded, then again guess it's good that lots of people are able to enjoy being outside. Next time we're doing this very early in the morning

14 days ago

I recommend arriving by 9a otherwise the trail gets crowded. My walk out to the falls I more or less had the trail to myself. The walk back was busy. The trail is lovely. Oddly there’s graffiti wherever there’s a marker but otherwise the views of the ocean are hard to beat. The more wooded parts of the trail are nice too though don’t compare to nearby Mt Tam. There’s a large arrow made of pieces of shale on the Coastal trail to indicate where to turn for the falls. By the time I arrived at the falls there were around 15 other people there. The view is expansive and climbing/ rock scrambling down to the beach to seeing the falls come over the cliff above and drain into the ocean is unique. I took my shoes off and went calf deep into the ocean. There were three sea lions/ seals floating in the water 15 feet from me. Otherwise on the trail I saw a rabbit, banana slug and a bunch of quail.

very good hike down to the ocean. The views change all along the hike. The last stretch is bit tricky to walk down to the ocean

18 days ago

I wholeheartedly enjoyed this hike so much, that i take anyone willing to go with me, just to show them the beautiful views! Its not too difficult of a hike either which makes it even more enjoyable.

I took my nieces and nephew whom range from 11 to 16. I've also seen young kids on the trail, I dont k ow how far they got, but none the less.

Go and do this hike... you're gunna love it!

hiking
20 days ago

Wonderful hike

20 days ago

The hike was great but too short, though it has Beautiful sceneries along the way which is great. Waterfalls are ok. It was much too crowded with children running around and more touristy than I like. Like other reviewer mentioned, many people carried portable speaker and people/children kicking around rocks.

hiking
20 days ago

Pretty easy hike. Very crowded with lots of people who didn't respect the area, lots of litter and people walking with portable speakers.

hiking
21 days ago

I loved the variety of terrain. You get forest, lakes, streams, waterfalls and the ocean. Some parts are a challenge, but I loved it!

21 days ago

Went in August. The falls themselves were pretty tiny. The weather was spectacular and weird though. Super foggy and overcast but hovering at a balmy 75 - very surreal!

Overall, a super easy flat trail, good for trail running (assuming it’s not too busy), and the falls are a little bonus, but weren’t super amazing.

22 days ago

Was a great hike. Definitely recommend it.

hiking
22 days ago

Great hike! Nice, scenic view. I like waterfalls but the hike alone was something I'm more interested in. Could probably trailrun without any big issues but be careful still!

hiking
23 days ago

August 2018 // Pretty sweet for a Bay Area hike! Worth it. Do it. Go early or go later if you want to avoid the crowd at the falls. But be mindful of when the sun sets and do bring headlamps if you go late.

TIP: There is no official sign for "Alamere Falls" from the Coast Trail. I repeat. There is no sign. For the hidden side trail to the falls from the main trail, look for the blue rock arrow on the ground that points to an overgrown unmaintained trail in dense high shrubs. And watch out for poison oak. They are abundant here.

P.S. You'll need both hands to scramble down the cliffs if you want to see the lower falls from the beach (and back up again). Please don't bring something you can't fit into a backpack. You need to be completely hands-free. And please don't wear sandals. Just don't. Be safe and have a good time!

25 days ago

Overview: a good up and down stroll along the coast and through the woods to a beach.

Pros:
1) scenery changes a lot.
2) lots of shade and trees
3) up and down, not too strenuous
4) parking lot at beginning.

Cons:
1) an “up and back” (not a fan)
2) pretty popular so lots of people (even during the week)
3) rocky road into the parking lot

The pros far outweighs the cons. Good hike for all group sizes.

More walk than hike... But you'll definitely get your exercise. Great coastal views and the falls at the end are more than worth the effort. Don't shy away from the scramble to the beach... The view of the lower falls is the real win. Go early! I was at the trailhead at 7:45 am on a Saturday and enjoyed complete silence and no ones else at the falls. On my way back... There must have been 50+ people headed there...

30 days ago

Pretty awesome in the end to see a waterfall on the beach!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike with ever-changing scenery! The hike is fairly flat, with some ups and downs, but nothing strenuous. There's a little path after the first large lake (about halfway into the hike) that has a swimming area and rope swing! After the second lake there's a "secret" path to the waterfalls that's marked with a rock arrow on the ground.
It took us about 3 hours round trip, and ended up being a bit shy of 8 miles since we took the secret waterfall path.

hiking
1 month ago

Toilet paper everywhere! Absolutely disgusting. Ruins an otherwise nice hike.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a good hike. The reviews about a lot of people is not an exaggeration. However, considering it’s one of the few coastal waterfalls in the country, it was expected. Lots of up hill in both directions. Not much wild life to speak of. We hit the trailhead at approximately 9:30am. It took 3:45 round trip even after spending a little time on the beach and having my hip tighten so the last mile + was slow.

1 month ago

Wow!! Such a beautiful hike! This hike is a very doable hike. It has a gradual incline and brings you to breath taking views. I suggest making a day of it and start early. Enjoy the beach and relax.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful scenery along the entire trail. Some wild flowers, a cute fox, 2 lakes, cascading waterfalls, the pacific coast, and Alamere falls itself.

Tips: Bring a swimsuit if you plan to stop at Bass Lake for a swim. If the parking lot is full, you might need to park down the dirt road, possibly as far as a mile from the trailhead so factor that into the total hiking distance.

1 month ago

loved this hike. I'm dead today tho

hiking
1 month ago

Fun trail but very busy. Bass lake is beautiful as well as the view of the ocean. Weather was perfect!

1 month ago

Too many people!

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike on a Sunday. Stared around 8:00 am. I felt like it was a pleasant hike. Mostly easy/moderate hike. Few ups and downs along the way.

We “almost” missed the waterfall “secret” entrance. It is right after the second lake. As soon as you cross lake #2, keep and eye on your left. We saw a couple who was tired walking on the flat trail which gave us an indication of the secret passage.

When we went down, I was happy to see first waterfall and there was literally no one there. Except 3-5 other people. Then we realized there’s a ocean access which I could not find a way to. After little bit of a exploring, found a pretty rocky route. So many birds and very few people. Not the cleanest place , but we found a nice spot and ate sandwiches we had packed.

On our way back saw lots and lots of people. I am glad we started when we did :-) we finished the whole thing in 4 hours.

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Excellent mix of flats and climbs. Just enough of a breeze to keep the family cool. The scramble down to the beach was a nice challenge for all of our kids. Thankfully there was another helpful hiker who guided our littlest one down the path.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is easy to hike on but can be considered moderate intensity due to the length of the hike. Great views of the waterfalls at the end! It can be a little challenging to climb down onto the beach but its worth the views.

hiking
2 months ago

Really beautiful, horribly crowded, so go early!

Also, ditch the external speakers with terrible music, bro.

(4 stars for the crowds, otherwise 5 stars)

hiking
2 months ago

Finished this earlier today and it was incredible! Good mix of up and down hill sections throughout the hike which made it easier on the legs! We found the shortcut relatively easily, as there was an arrow made of rocks that had faint yellow paint on it. When you reach that point you are almost there!

hiking
2 months 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.

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