Alamere Falls via Palomarin Trailhead

Palomarin Trailhead, California

4.5/5
based on 51 reviews

Details

Distance

13.54 miles

Elevation Gain

1614 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Jake Young

Alamere Falls via the Palomarin Trailhead is a 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 a 12.2 mile out-and-back in Point Reyes National Seashore. 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 or bring a copy of the map from the NPS website (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.

To help maintain the natural area around the falls and to ensure a safer hike for you and anyone with you, the National Park service recommends that you hike to Wildcat Camp and then take the beach south back toward the waterfall. Once you get to the falls, 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!

There is an optional shortcut to this hike, but it is not recommended or maintained by the National Park Service. There is a small trail with shrubbery and potential for contact with poison oak. As you get to the top of the falls, there are two steep parts. The first takes you just above the main part of the falls, where there are a few smaller waterfalls. From here, head further down the trail to get to the beach; this is where the main waterfall is located. This last descent is slippery with loose gravel and can get very crowded at times making this a very challenging area. 

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. No drones are allowed. 

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Features

Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Lake
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Reviews

One morning I woke up eagerly for adventure. My boyfriend who has done Alamere Falls hike before told me about it and I had my mind set on it. I called couple other friends to come with who were also excited for adventure. We drove along the coast through Stinson Beach and Bolinas to where the trails begins. After we parked we read the warning signs where the trail map was shown and stated that people do get hurt during the hike. In my opinion the hike is not bad at all. It doesn't have steep hills to conquer, the road was pretty flat. As you walk on the trail you are surrounded by beautiful trees and plans and to top that your view is ocean! It is very easy to miss the left turn into a different trail that takes you directly to waterfall. Calculating, if you walked more than 5 miles you went too far. About 5 miles ratio is where I would look for left turn into Alamere Falls trail. It isn't obvious turn and it looks like you are diving into the bushes crunching down. Don't be alarmed. It's the right place. From there you have less than a mile to the Falls. Hiking down to waterfall is a challenge but slowly you can do it. I would be very careful because it's super slippery but what helps is hiking down by seating down. Take one step at the time and don't hurry. You have all time in the world to make there safely. My boyfriend and I worked closely together as a team by pulling and pushing each other up or down. The adventure is hard at that moment but you got to trust your body and mind and believe that you can do it. Bring tons of water. That's number 1 thing. I found being thirsty all the time especially going back. You forget that you have are half way done when you reach the Falls and you got to walk 6 miles back to your car. Bring snacks and sunscreen and hat! Most of all down forget to have fun because adventures are supposed to be hard and fun.

Nice hike, and very popular so get there early otherwise you will need to add another 1 or 1.5 mile to your destination due from your parking spot. The trail is intermediate challenging, and lots of indications about the trails and camping spots but not about the Alamere waterfall so I hiked all the way to wildcamp and went back south to the Waterfall via the beach. On my way back I took the way I was suppose to go since the beginning and found out that the only sign that indicated the right way to go to the waterfall was a piece of cloth that some hikers tied to a branch probably after I passed (that's what happens when you get early and avoid crowd otherwise would have been easier to just follow the crowd). Still, the long extra miles paid off. Highly recommend this trail.

We encountered a foggy morning which was the best hiking weather. Get there early if you want to get a slot in the main parking lot - we got there around 9:30 and were one of the few last to get in.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Hike and Swim at Bass Lake

Backpack to Coast Camp in Point Reyes via Palomarin Trailhead

Point Reyes' Wildcat Camp via Coast Trail

Glen Camp Loop via the Palomarin Trailhead

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Cataract Falls