Hike to Alamere Falls

8.4 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Jake Young

Hike to a beautiful and rare waterfall (tidefall), plummeting 40ft until it reaches the ocean. Enjoy stunning views of the pacific combined with varying terrain through forests, tall brush, and exposed dirt trails. If you hike to falls during the summer, take a swim in Bass Lake on the way back to the trailhead.

The hike to Alamere falls is ~8.4 mile out-and-back. Start at the Palomarin Trailhead located in the parking lot near the restrooms. After about 2 minutes on the trail, you'll see a map on your right that lays out the trail to the falls as well as a few campground (Sky, Wildcat, etc.). Don't be afraid to take a picture of the map if you're worried about getting lost (it never hurts to have a reference). From there, the trail connects with Coast Trail and is pretty straight forward as you head to the falls. For the first couple of miles, the trail is fairly exposed and can get warm on sunny days. The second half of the hike prior to reaching the coast is covered and wooded.

When you reach the coast, the trail becomes very narrow and steep. You'll often notice a little traffic jam as people figure out how to navigate their way down. There are two steep parts, the first takes you just above the main part of the falls, where there are a few smaller waterfalls. Once you've had a chance to check it out, head further down the trail to get to the beach; this is where the main waterfall is located. On this last descent, give the people ahead of you a little space. There's lots of loose gravel and people coming from the opposite direction, which makes the trail a bit crowded. When you get to the beach, you'll realize why you trekked 4+ miles and waited behind a line of people for good reason - it's freaking awesome! Take in the scenery, snap a few photos, and refuel, then it's back on the trail the way you came. If you want to cool off on the way back, stop at Bass Lake and go for a swim!

For a safer, less challenging route (minus the additional distance), you can hike the coastal trail to Wildcat Camp, then head south along the beach to reach Alamere Falls. 

If you're looking to grab a bite after this long trek, head to Mill Valley, specifically Avatars for some Punjabi burritos.

This hike is NOT dog friendly.

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Tags

Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Lake
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

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Dogs

No dogs allowed! We went on this app and the link and nothing said no dogs allowed but when we got there the ranger handling parking would not let us in with them. They are not allowed on the trail which we drove two hours to go to. We found another one to go to clearly not as amazing as everyone says this is but I wish that it has stated that somewhere when giving all the information

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🥇Top Contributor

almost 5 years ago

super close to the city and yet it feels a million miles away. great day hike, just make sure there isn't too much fog!

🥉Contributor

almost 5 years ago

Multiple ecosystems, vistas galore, excellent chance of whales

Alamere Falls is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the Bay Area, and sees slightly less daily foot traffic than the Gold Gate Bridge. Despite its busyness, the hike from the Palomarin trailhead is nothing short of delightful. Things get intermediate when you hit the cliffs to climb down to the beach and the waterfall. Expect a backup on the single person trail that diverges from the Coast Trail down to the massive bluffs above the water. Be prepared to wait to climb down and to climb back up when your day is done. Plan for at least 2 hours to hike back to the parking lot. The weather is highly changeable, with the marine layer rolling in and dropping the temperature 20 degrees without warning. Camping can be found a few miles north at Wildcat, and is enjoyable in any season with the right gear. If you take this trail in late fall, you may just catch a glimpse of whales migrating to Baja through the Gulf of the Farallones, as well as the imposing profile of the islands beyond.

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