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Trail run to Alamere Falls

Bolinas, California



8.4 miles

Elevation Gain

1300 ft

Route Type



Added by Jack Trotter

The Palomarin trail offers a series of rolling uphill and downhill stretches on a wide open and non-technical trail - perfect for running. The reward for your effort is Alamere Falls, a truly stunning waterfall that plunges 40 feet from the bluff right on to the beach.

Getting there

The Palomarin trailhead is located at the end of the road in Marin, north of Bolinas, just over an hour from downtown San Francisco.

If you’re planning on doing this run on a weekend, we strongly suggest getting up early to beat the crowds and the weather. We were there by 8:30am on a Sunday, and the parking lot was more or less full. When we finished our run around 10am, and the parking lot (which had been almost empty when we started).

The trail

The run is about 8.4 miles out and back. There’s slightly more elevation gain on the way back, so take that into account when you are tempted to bomb down the downhills. Except for the last stretch, it’s a wide, well-maintained trail that is not very technical and is easily runnable. We clocked ~8:30 minute miles - check out the trail profile here.

The play-by-play

The trail starts from the back of the parking lot, just past the bathrooms. It’s more or less a straight shot along the Coast trail, with exposed sections (and great views!) for the first 1.3 miles or so.

From here, it’s a 0.7 mile stretch that climbs 300 feet, taking you back from the coast and into a more covered stretch of trail. It’s a bit of a slog, but the good news is that this is the high point of the trail. It’s mostly downhill to the Falls from here.

You can bomb downhill for 0.7 miles before a short quarter mile uphill stretch. This is followed by another chance to bomb downhill for almost amile, which more or less gets you to the turn off for the Falls.

IMPORTANT NOTE: the turnoff for the Falls is not clearly marked. When we were there, an arrow had been chalked into the ground to indicate where to go. You have to duck under some branches, but it doesn’t seem like this isn’t a cut, it’s the actual trail.

We jogged down to the edge of the bluff, and then carefully picked our way down to the beach. It’s slippery and treacherous, and there’s really no upside to running this stretch.

Enjoy a break on the beach, eat a Gu or Clif block or two, and take some pictures. Then clamber back up to the bluff and go back the way you came.

To add to the workout, we did hill repeats once back on the main trail. See if you can beat this segment record!

A good stop for sandwiches on the way back (particularly for those of us who try to stay plant-based or veggie) is Davy Jones deli in Sausalito.

Check out the course profile here: https://www.strava.com/activities/1392175700

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