Hike and Swim at Bass Lake

San Francisco Palomarin Trailhead

Added by Sarah Eichstedt

Everything you would want in a perfect summer day: hiking, a rope swing into a lake, picnicking, and gorgeous views.

Follow the Coast Trail from Palomarin Trailhead to Bass Lake. It's a fairly easy ~2.5-3 miles to the Lake. As soon as you pass the lake, on the left you will see a narrow unmarked dirt trail. Take this trail and you'll get to a nice clearing with easy lake access (this will be a great spot for lunch in the sun after swimming). To continue to the rope swing (which is a MUST DO), follow any of the narrow trails at the other end of the clearing. You'll soon arrive at the small steep clearing from where you'll be re-living your childhood by swinging into the lake! Don't forget to bring your swimming gear, inflatable rings to hang out in the middle of the lake, and a pack lunch! (Note: there's poison oak along the narrow trails, so you might want to avoid shorts or flip-flops.)

After enjoying the afternoon by the lake, take the same trail back and drive to your already secured camp site on Mount Tam. Feel free to stop by the town of Bolinas or Stinson Beach for a drink at the local pub before heading back to camp. You can even add a hike to Alamere Falls from Bass Lake for additional adventure (but beware of the massive crowds at this location on the weekends).

Pack List

  • Trail Map
  • Swim Suit & Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Lunch & Beverages
  • Athletic Shoes
  • Inflatable Raft (Optional)
  • Picnic Blanket
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Chillin, Hiking, Swimming

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



5 Miles



Adult Beverages
Easy Parking
Swimming Hole

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How to Get There

about 1 year ago

Great coastal hike with awesome views. If you are planning on stopping at Bass Lake, bring something to float. The water is usually pretty nice (compared to the ocean). The rope swing is a lot of fun but be careful! Make sure and grab high up on the rope to avoid rocks at the bottom. Alamere Falls is work the hike. The trail down to the beach has a lot of loose rocks, so I wouldn't take small children down that way. Also, the trail is very narrow and has lots of poison oak on either side.

about 1 year ago

about 2 years ago

Does anyone know if this hike is dog-friendly?

about 2 years ago

about 2 years ago

A lot of fun! The trail we took down to the lake was unmarked. If you take the marked one ( if there is one) it is probably longer than 2.5 mi.

about 2 years ago

almost 3 years ago

Rope swing!

almost 3 years ago

about 3 years ago

I went to Bass Lake a couple months ago. The hike is amazing as it takes you along a (safe) coastal cliff trail and then up into the woods towards the lake. The Rope Swing is a blast and is at NorthWest side of the lake. Make sure you grab it on the 1st or 2nd knot from the top so you don't drag your feet on the rocks.

about 3 years ago

about 3 years ago

the rope swing rules

about 3 years ago

Added by Sarah Eichstedt

Lover of spontaneous adventures, photography, farm animals, and travel. Outdoor enthusiast by day, ICU nurse by night. Favorite adventures: sailing around the world, bicycling across the US, backpacking through South America and Africa.

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