The hike from the Palomarin trailhead to Alamere Falls is one of my favorites in Point Reyes, if not the whole Bay Area. There are few places in the world where you can see a freshwater waterfall drop directly into the ocean.
It’s rated as moderate. Not too long, not too short, and you’ll be back in San Francisco just in time for dinner.
Start at the trailhead and follow signs along Coast Trail for the falls. Early into the hike, underneath a grove of eucalyptus trees, there is a small trail to the left leading to the coast. This little offshoot leads you through green hills to a rocky beach (read: dinosaur egg rocky) that has the potential to be absolutely gorgeous in not-foggy weather.
The trail then hugs the contour of the hills. Continue on the trail past Bass Lake. (Note: Bass Lake is an awesome swimming hole in the summer, complete with a rope swing.) Soon, you’ll reach a sign on the left that points to Alamere Falls through some brush. This is a choose your own adventure trail! Though this is the shortest path to the waterfall, it is also prickly and filled with poison oak. Bring a long sleeve or shell to protect yourself.
Once you get out of the brush, begin your descent down to the first set of mini-falls of Alamere Falls. Beautiful, but small. Cross the stream and continue down to the top of the big falls.
Look over the edge if you dare. Remember that California coastal bluffs are crumbly as hell. Climb down at your own risk. The rock face to your right will be your way down. It’s easiest to just jump off onto the first ledge, and then run the rest of the way down onto the sandy beach.
Run around and frolick in the sand, have lunch, enjoy the beach and waterfall. Then head back the way you came to get back to the trailhead.
If you’re looking for less spicy adventure, you can also hike down to Wildcat Camp to get to the beach. Wildcat Camp is 5.7 miles from the trailhead. From Wildcat Camp, walk along the beach for a little over a mile to get to Alamere Falls. Don’t forget to check the tides. This way is relatively impassable when the tides are high.
From Alamere Falls, you can retrace your steps on the beach or climb up the bluffs. Then take Coast Trail back to Palomarin trailhead.
Alamere Falls: Know Before You Go
- California coastal bluffs are unstable and unpredictable. Exercise caution when climbing on them.
- This trail has a lot of poison oak. Be wary.
- Hiking this in the rain? Expect a L-O-T of mud. In fact, don’t expect your feet to stay dry.
- Get here early. The trailhead parking fills up fast.
- Don’t expect solitude. This trail is on everyone’s Bay Area Must Do list. It’s busy!
Enjoyed the hike from Palomarin Trailhead to Alamere Falls? Arch Rock is another beautiful hike. Tomales Point is one of my favorites. And don’t forget the lighthouse!
Point Reyes is home to some fun backpacking too! Score permits for Coast Camp and build a beach bonfire, or escape during the week to Glen Camp.
Hike: Palomarin trail to Alamere Falls and back
Where: Point Reyes, CA
Duration: 5 hours and 3 minutes
Length: Approximately 8 miles round trip
Fitbit Steps: 24,585
CamelBak Aventura Hydration Pack – 100 fl. oz.,
REI Sahara Convertible Pants with No-Sit Zips, Triple Aught Design Artemis hoodie,
The North Face Resolve Rain Jacket, &
The North Face Hedgehog Guide GTX Hiking Shoes